The Boston Red Sox have made undoubtedly the most surprising pre-free-agency move in the league today. They exercised their $12.5 million option on David Ortiz, an option that contained no buyout clause.

Ortiz turns 35 this month, and has an RSL of .257/.356/.498 over the past three seasons, averaging 28 homers and 97 RBI per year. The move was likely made based on Papi’s popularity and the fact that he went .286/.385/.558 this season after April ended.

In a free-agent class that will include Lance Berkman, Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko, Derrek Lee, Troy Glaus, Vladamir Guerrero, Hideki Matsui, Pat Burrell, Marcus Thames, Aubrey Huff, Russell Branyan, Adam LaRoche, Lyle Overbay, Carlos Pena, Manny Ramirez and Jim Thome among first base/designated hitter types, it is very odd that the Red Sox would pay such a premium to keep a player who is barely in the upper echelon of that group.

There will be some fantastic designated hitter bargains come January, and while the Sox certainly aren’t penny-pinchers, they do need to spend money to fill other voids on their team.

For more on David Ortiz and the 2010-2011 Major League Baseball offseason, check out

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