FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Boston Red Sox have reached an agreement with David Ortiz that all but assures the iconic slugger will finish his career in a Boston uniform, and eliminates what had become an annual rite of spring -- Ortiz looking to add more years to his contract.
According to multiple sources, Ortiz agreed to a $16 million extension for the 2015 season, a $1 million bump from the $15 million he will be paid in 2014. Also in place is a club/vesting option for the 2016 season that will automatically kick in if Ortiz achieves a certain number of plate appearances, and a club option for 2017. If the option years are fulfilled, Ortiz will remain under Red Sox control into his 40s -- he turns 42 on Nov. 18, 2017, the final year of the deal.
The team announced the extension and option years Sunday night.
"With this agreement, we have near certainty that David Ortiz will finish his career in a Red Sox uniform, which is something we have all wanted and that we are all proud of," owner John Henry said in a statement. "It is difficult to describe David's contributions to our city both on the field and off the field, and we are so proud to have this ambassador of our game with us as he continues on this road to Cooperstown."
There has been little doubt throughout camp that the Red Sox would sign Ortiz to an extension, with both the player and club ownership expressing a desire to strike an agreement. Ortiz's agent, Fernando Cuza, came for face-to-face negotiations with general manager Ben Cherington and CEO Larry Lucchino on multiple occasions, including Sunday.
Lucchino, as recently as last Thursday, said the club had spent the previous few weeks attempting to close a deal, and when Ortiz went to meet with Cuza on Sunday, he said "hopefully" a deal had been reached.
"We want it to happen," Lucchino said at the outset of camp. "We want him to be a guy who essentially came in with us even though it was 2003, our second year, and stayed with us for the rest of his career. I think it's a great thing. I know it's a great thing for us. I think it's a great thing for David and it would be a great thing for baseball and Red Sox fans. He feels connected. He's committed. He's certainly one of the most important faces in baseball, as well as for the franchise, so we're eager to resolve something if it can be done."
Ortiz, who in his first media conference in Fort Myers described himself as "one of the greatest players ever to wear this uniform," has been optimistic from the time he arrived in mid-February that a deal would be struck.
Despite missing all of last spring while rehabbing from a strained Achilles tendon, the nine-time All-Star enjoyed another banner season in 2013, capped by a performance in the World Series (.688 average, two home runs) that led to his selection as Series MVP.
"Conversations are good," Ortiz said at the outset of camp. "My bosses are more than happy to talk about what we're talking about. I think they're trying to get this out of the way so it doesn't begin to be a distraction."