- Posted: 12:10 PM, July 5, 2012
Red Sox slugger David Ortiz clubbed his 400th home run on Wednesday against the Oakland A’s, but rather than celebrating the monumental feat, the DH went on the offensive against Boston’s front office for the way he was treated this past offseason.
"If you go crazy and give contracts to whoever comes along despite not knowing how they're going to do, then you don't give me my due consideration, even though I do my thing every year, (expletive) that," Ortiz told USA Today. "I'm going to be open to anything. My mentality is not going to be, 'I like it here.' It's going to be, 'Bring it to the table, and we'll see what happens.' "
Ortiz signed a one-year deal with the Red Sox, worth $14.575 million, just hours before the two sides were set to state their cases in an arbitration hearing in February. Ortiz hit .309 with 26 homers and 96 RBI in 2011 and was seeking a two-year, $25 million deal with Boston.
This year he has been even better: Ortiz currently leads the Red Sox in every offensive category, hitting .302 with 22 homers and 55 RBI, and will be the only Boston player to make the trip to Kansas City for the All-Star Game next week.
"It was humiliating. There's no reason a guy like me should go through that," he said. "All I was looking for was two years, at the same salary ($12.5 million),” Ortiz said. "They ended up giving me $3 million more than that (actually $2.025 million), and look at my numbers this year. Tell me if they wouldn't have been better off.”
The slugger’s biggest gripe appears to be with the way the Red Sox have splurged on free agents in recent years. Boston spent $141 million on a seven-year deal for outfielder Carl Crawford last season and $82.5 million on a five-year deal for pitcher John Lackey in 2010. Both players have been disappointing during their tenures with the Red Sox, Crawford hitting a career-low .255 last season and Lackey posting a 26-23 record and a 5.26 ERA.
"Yet [the front office] don't hesitate to sign other guys. It was embarrassing,” Ortiz said.
First-year general Manager Ben Cherington told the paper that the team would not engage Ortiz in negotiations during the season, but hoped that the slugger could remain in Boston after this season.
"David is having a terrific season and has been a leader on and off the field for us. We remain hopeful that David will finish his career with the Red Sox,” Ortiz said.
Ortiz’s comments are highlighted as Boston continues to struggle. The Red Sox (42-37) are currently third in the AL East and were swept by the A’s to close a seven-game road trip. The team’s inability to consistently win has put a cloud over Ortiz’s accomplishment.
"I wish he could celebrate," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. "David is a team guy, and he knows it's a great individual accomplishment. We all know that. But it's tarnished."
Ortiz echoed that sentiment.
"I know it's only a small group that has gotten to that number," Ortiz said. "(The loss) is the reason you don't see me going crazy. This is a productive lineup that hasn't been hitting. Let's hope things change soon."
Ortiz and the Red Sox welcome the division-leading Yankees to Fenway Park for a four-game series starting Friday.