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David Ortiz’s contract includes incentives based on his Achilles injury

Nov 5, 2012, 7:02 PM EDT

David Ortiz AP AP

David Ortiz finalized a two-year, $26 million contract with the Red Sox earlier today. But he could make more if he stays healthy.

Rob Bradford of was told by a baseball source that Ortiz’s contract includes specific language regarding the right Achilles tendon injury which limited him to just 90 games this season. The new deal currently calls for him to make an $11 million base salary in 2014, but his salary will be bumped up to $15 million if he misses 20 or fewer days on the disabled list in 2013 due to the injury. That would bring the total value of the deal to $30 million.

Ortiz, who turns 37 later this month, underwent ultrasound treatment on his Achilles tendon early last month. The veteran slugger is currently in rehab mode, but he’s expected to be ready for spring training.

  1. tfbuckfutter - Nov 5, 2012 at 8:57 PM

    Umm….I don’t think I’ve heard of “incentives” working like that before. Usually the money is protected against the injury in the interest of the team….

    It’s like his base pay assumes the problem will be a persistent one.

    • Francisco (FC) - Nov 5, 2012 at 9:06 PM

      I’m sure the language just says: “Plays in X number of games.” Similar to how pitchers may have options that vest for pitching a fixed amount of innings. I doubt that they specifically mention injuries, I could be wrong though.

      • tfbuckfutter - Nov 5, 2012 at 9:11 PM

        It actually is probably language specific to that injury. I think it was Magglio Ordonez who signed a contract which protected the team in case of injury to one of his specific knees….and he promptly blew out the other one.

        But again, that contract said “You make $x unless you injure your right knee, then you make $x-y”

        Which may be how this contract is actually written, but the write up of it sounds bizarre. And reporting it as a $26 million deal makes it sound like that is the assumed base, and the “incentive” that pushes it to $30 million isn’t actually an incentive.

    • bigleagues - Nov 6, 2012 at 9:46 PM

      “Incentives” have worked both ways.

      In Papi’s case I think its more apropos to label them ‘productivity triggers’.

      Achilles injuries can happen to anyone. It may or may not happen more frequently with older players, but those injuries can happen to anyone. If the repercussions of the injury seem to affect him well into next season then I’d be concerned. In the meantime . . .

      It’s important to note that from 2009-2011 Ortiz played in an average of 147 Games (150, 145, 146). And without verifying further I’m confident that most of the missed games were simply lineup decisions made during that godforsaken thing called “Interleague”. He played injured in 2009 and had a sizeable decline in percentages.

      However his combined percentages over 2010, 2011 and 2012 is:

      .296/.391/.558/.950 with a 151 OPS+

      In other words, he’s well worth the risk over the next two seasons.

  2. willclarkgameface - Nov 6, 2012 at 8:43 AM

    I think there should have been an incentive built into the contract for him stop bitching about things especially during a contract year. 2013 will not yield massive amounts of bitching, but 2014 he will lead the league just like in 2012.

    This was Larry Lucchino’s warm and fuzzy pick of the off-season. It’s for you pink hat nation. Time to sing Sweet Caroline while drinking expensive shitty beer and texting your girlfriends at the same time about how hot Jacoby is when he plays quarterback.

    You saw that right. THAT is what going to a game at Fenway is like.

  3. bigleagues - Nov 6, 2012 at 7:50 PM

    A month or so ago I said that Papi would re-sign with the Red Sox for 2 (with a possible 3rd-year mutual option) years for a total of $30M-$32M – with incentives – and was roundly criticized for estimate because Cherington would be ‘overpaying’ Ortiz.

    Ultimately, no option, but I consider myself vindicated.

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