Red Sox

David Ortiz is all fired up about J.D. Martinez not being MVP finalist

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USA TODAY Sports

David Ortiz is all fired up about J.D. Martinez not being MVP finalist

David Ortiz is tired of the anti-designated hitter bias.

The former Boston Red Sox slugger never won an American League MVP award despite putting up some monster numbers throughout his career. He's apparently still a little salty about that, and after watching J.D. Martinez finish a distant fourth in AL MVP voting this year, Ortiz couldn't bite his tongue any longer.

"OK, Mookie Betts was the MVP, but you were the runner-up," Ortiz told WEEI.com's Rob Bradford at his annual David Ortiz Golf Classic in the Dominican Republic. "That’s the type of credit he needs to get. Not this other (expletive). Come on, man. I never understand it."

"... How about if I tell you J.D. made Mookie better. He made (Xander) Bogaerts better. Every lineup needs a guy like him so he takes pressure off the rest of the guys so the guys can be better. Look at the 2017 season, look at the 2016 season and then look at the 2018 season, then you tell me. Be my guest."

Ortiz's argument: Martinez is such a good hitter that he affects how pitchers approach the entire lineup. And that kind of impact can't be measured in sabermetric stats like Wins Above Replacement -- which Big Papi apparently isn't a fan of.

"Sabermetrics might be 85 percent of the game, but without the 15 percent that isn’t measured, if you don’t get that then that 85 percent doesn’t mean (expletive)," Ortiz said. "That 15 percent is the heart, the hunger, what matters to you and what is important to you. To me, J.D. Martinez is that difference. He was and he is going to continue being that difference."

Ortiz speaks from experience: While he didn't play the field in Boston, his presence in the batting order made the Red Sox's lineup an absolute force during their 2004, 2007 and 2013 championship runs.

The retired slugger believes Martinez was every bit that same presence on the 2018 Sox -- and was an indispensable part of their title run.

"I don’t care about what anybody says, with WAR and this and that. If you don’t have a guy like J.D. Martinez in your lineup you don’t win the World Series," Ortiz said. "If we don’t have him in that lineup there will be no World Series. You can go around and ask anybody. That’s what MVP means. I know how hard that is and I don’t think they do."

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Mookie Betts doesn't expect to sign contract extension with Red Sox

Mookie Betts doesn't expect to sign contract extension with Red Sox

After Mike Trout signed a gargantuan contract extension with the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday -- the largest in North American sports, to be exact -- many wondered if Mookie Betts would follow suit and re-up with the Boston Red Sox.

Those people can wonder no longer.

Speaking openly about his contract situation Wednesday in Fort Myers, Betts insisted he's not interested in signing an extension before his contract expires and wants to become an unrestricted free agent following the 2020 season.

"That’s exactly what I expect. I don’t expect anything to happen till I’m a free agent," Betts said when asked if he expects to enter this season without a long-term contract, via The Boston Globe's Alex Speier.

Betts also confirmed he rejected the Red Sox's contract extension offer following the 2017 season, reportedly valued at eight years and $200 million.

With Trout inking a ridiculous $35.8-million-per-year contract on the heels of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado's megadeals, Betts probably can maximize his value by testing the free-agent market rather than signing an extension. Case in point: In a column published Wednesday, The Athletic's Jayson Stark revealed an American League executive told him Betts earning a $500 million contract is "a possibility."

Still, the reigning American League MVP wasn't interested in speculating how Trout's deal could affect his price tag.

"I don’t think it really impacts me that much," Betts said, via WEEI.com's Rob Bradford. "But it definitely is something positive that is going on in the game and hopefully there is more of it.

"We’re different players. Different players do different things. We do different things."

Betts added he won't ignore the Red Sox's negotiation efforts over the next year-plus, but it sounds like he doesn't want to get undersold, either.

"You can definitely (keep) your ears open and see what's said. But that doesn't mean you necessarily have to agree on or take whatever is given," Betts said, via The Globe's Pete Abraham.

"But I love it here. This is a great place to be, to spend your career here. That doesn't mean you sell yourself short."

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Dustin Pedroia: Red Sox are "scared" to have me on Opening Day roster

Dustin Pedroia: Red Sox are "scared" to have me on Opening Day roster

Dustin Pedroia can comprehend why the Boston Red Sox are placing him on the injury list to start the season.

But that doesn't mean he has to agree with it.

Shortly after Red Sox manager Alex Cora announced Monday that Pedroia won't be on the Opening Day roster as he rehabs a knee injury, the second baseman offered his side of the story.

"It is what it is. I didn’t really think about it. I think the whole thing, I don’t think the team was expecting me to come in and look the way I looked," Pedroia told reporters Monday in Fort Myers, via WEEI.com. "They just want to make sure they do it right. That’s basically it."

Pedroia appeared in just three games last season after undergoing cartilage restoration knee surgery in October 2017. The Red Sox have played it safe with the 35-year-old this spring, limiting him to four Grapefruit League games and five or fewer innings in each of those contests.

Pedroia may argue the club is being a little too cautious.

"They have had to hold me back. I’m ready for Opening Day. It’s just they’re scared," Pedroia added.

"No one has ever come back from something like this. They want me to make sure I follow the right steps to do that and make sure everyone is 100 percent confident that when I come back, I come back and stay back and not have any issues.

"... I feel like I’m ready. It’s just they just want to see how my knee responds when I do that, which I understand. We’ll just go from there. It’s only, I think, a week or something, the plan that they set. If it’s being smart for a week and we make sure I respond great to everything thrown at me then it’s a good decision."

Boston has the luxury of not rushing Pedroia, as Brock Holt and Eduardo Nunez can split time at second base in his absence. Whether the 14-year veteran still has good baseball in him remains to be seen, but he at least wants a chance to prove himself as soon as possible.

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