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Papi says Red Sox should offer young stars contract extensions

PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic -- If David Ortiz ran the Boston Red Sox, he would replace himself in the middle of the lineup by throwing a bunch of money at his buddy Edwin Encarnacion.

But Ortiz knows that Dave Dombrowski's job is more complicated than that.

"It's easier to demand and say things from this standpoint, but you need to know how much the organization has to spend, how many years they want to give away," Ortiz said Friday from his ninth annual charity golf event to raise money for pediatric care in New England and the Dominican Republic. "We have a good group of guys out there. You're going to have to sit down and talk to them about long-term (extensions). We have four or five guys. You're definitely going to have to sit down and chat with them about 100 million dollars."

Ortiz was referring to the Red Sox's core of emerging young stars, specifically AL MVP runner-up Mookie Betts and shortstop Xander Bogaerts. Center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., like Bogaerts, is bound for arbitration for the first time in his career. Both will receive substantial raises from their 2016 salaries of $650,000 and $546,500, respectively. Betts, who made $566,000 this year, will be arbitration-eligible next winter.

Although Bogaerts and Bradley can't become free agents until after the 2018 season and Betts until after 2019, the Red Sox might try to begin speaking with them about long-term extensions. It's unclear whether any of the players would be open to the conversation (Bogaerts and Bradley are represented by agent Scott Boras, who typically steers his clients toward free agency), but it's an endeavor that Ortiz believes would be worthwhile for the team.

"They are baseball," Ortiz said. "In a heartbeat, I would sit down to talk to those kids. The most important thing about them is that they have that work ethic as a younger player. That's something that to me, they have unbelievable value. These kids, they come to the field and it's straight business. Me, as a veteran player, knowing how you come from the bottom to the top, it’s something that to me is extremely important.

"Those are the players you want on your ballclub. Young, talented, with that mentality that's on another level. I know that at some point, the Red Sox will have to sit down with them, with Jackie, even my man who played left field (Andrew Benintendi) that has a couple of days in the big leagues. They’re going to sit down with all those kids because they are what people want. I want to come to the field every day to see what they can do."