At least for one more year, the Boston Red will bring back one of the most popular players in franchise history.

The Red Sox picked up David Ortiz’s $12.5 million option for the 2011 season, which will be his ninth in a Red Sox uniform.


Ortiz is all smiles after Boston picked up his 2011 option

For both parties, this deal was a no brainer.

For the Red Sox, they bring back a guy who hit .270/.370/.529 with 32 HR’s in 145 games in 2010. Ortiz, even at 35, is still an integral part of the Red Sox offense. Ortiz led the Red Sox in HR’s and was third on the team in OPS (.899).

I think what gave Boston GM Theo Epstein the confidence to bring Ortiz back was the fact that Big Papi got better as the season progressed. After hitting a pathetic .143 with one HR in April, it looked as if Big Papi was a Post Toastie.

But then, like a Phoenix rising from the ashes (dramatic pause), Ortiz turned into a monster. He hit .363 with 10 HR’s in May and ended the season hitting .306 with five HR’s in September and October.

I think if he started off fast and then faded in the second half, Ortiz wouldn’t be returning to the Red Sox in 2011.

This deal also makes sense for the Red Sox because it’s a one-year deal. Giving a 35-year-old DH a two- or three-year deal wouldn’t have made much sense at all.

For Ortiz, he gets to return to the place that made him a superstar for one more season at a very good salary. Ortiz wanted a multi-year deal, but A) No team was going to give him that and B) No team would come close to giving him the $12.5 million he is going to earn in 2011.

Odds are if Ortiz hit the open market this offseason, he was looking at a $5–$6 million deal. At the end of the day, Ortiz lucked out by having the Red Sox pick up his option.

The Red Sox settled on their DH position on Thursday. Now if they can settle on their third base and catcher situation, they will really be in business in 2011.

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