The veteran designated hitter — and face of the storied franchise — agreed Friday night on a two-year deal worth at least $26 million, a source said. Incentives could bring the deal to as much as $30 million.
Talks between Ortiz and the Red Sox began late in the season and concluded with Friday night’s accord. The veteran slugger has made it no secret of his desire to finish his career in Boston.
In case the sides did not come to an agreement, the Red Sox had made Ortiz a $13.3 million qualifying offer prior to Friday’s 5 p.m. ET deadline so that they would be eligible for draft-pick compensation if he ended up signing with another team. Boston didn’t extend qualifying offers to outfielders Scott Podsednik and Cody Ross, right-handers Aaron Cook, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Vicente Padilla, and first baseman James Loney.
Ortiz would have been able to negotiate with other teams, beginning at midnight, if he hadn’t come to terms with the Red Sox. But that won’t be necessary now.
Ortiz, an eight-time All-Star who turns 37 on Nov. 18, was on pace for a productive 2012 before he suffered a right Achilles strain July 16. He was limited to only one more game the rest of the season and finished with a .318 average, 23 home runs and 60 RBIs in 90 games.
Since his arrival in Boston prior to the 2003 season, Ortiz has spent the last 10 seasons becoming one of the best DHs in the game. He has a .290 career average with the Red Sox, including 343 homers and 1,088 RBIs.
He was a critical component of the team’s two World Series championships in 2004 and ’07.