Rangers are interested in Papi. The Sox have until midnight to sign him or he will hit the open market.
David Ortiz has drawn the interest of the Texas Rangers, according to widespread media reports. The Red Sox slugger has been trying to work out a new contract with Boston before Friday at midnight, at which time Ortiz will become a free agent.
Ortiz texted that the Red Sox and his agent are closing the gap. It’s an indication he sincerely wants Boston to be his 2013 team, even with another option surfacing.
One factor that appeared to be in the club’s negotiating favor was that Ortiz, who turns 37 in November, was not likely to attract many competing offers. Last year, Baltimore and Toronto were interested, but Ortiz wound up signing a one-year, $14.575 million deal with Boston.
He hit 23 home runs with 60 RBIs and a .318 average in 90 games. A stellar season was curtailed by an Achilles strain that kept him out of all but one of Boston’s final 72 games.
Texas is a new player in the Ortiz game, and would be a significant one. The Rangers have become an elite franchise, with World Series appearances in 2010 and 2011.
They have emerged as one of the game’s most willing spenders, a role that comes as the Red Sox (and to some degree, the New York Yankees) are peeling back payroll.
Ortiz has been seeking a two-year deal at $25 million to $30 million. The Red Sox seem OK with the two years, but at substantially less money.
It’s possible the Ortiz-Texas link is being floated as a bargaining chip for the player. If the Rangers are truly interested, though, signing Ortiz will become even tougher for the Red Sox once their exclusive negotiating period with him ends at midnight Friday.
The Red Sox seem to be taking the report seriously as they work to close a deal with Ortiz before the deadline.
Texas’ interest is a signal the Rangers are prepared to lose slugging outfielder Josh Hamilton to free agency, and need a power source to take his place.
Their most commonly used DH last season was Michael Young, one of the most popular and productive players in Rangers history, Young is 36, and he slipped dramatically in 2012 with eight home runs, 67 RBIs and a .277 average,
Young’s average represented a 61-point drop from his .338 mark in 2011, and was 24 points below his .301 career average.