BOSTON -- The San Francisco Giants' four-game sweep of Detroit in the World Series has accelerated the clock on free agency, as prospective free agents were eligible to file immediately after the conclusion of the Series.
The Red Sox have seven prospective free agents -- DH David Ortiz, outfielders Cody Ross and Scott Podsednik, first baseman James Loney, reliever Vicente Padilla and starting pitchers Aaron Cook and Daisuke Matsuzaka.
The Sox have signaled their intentions to re-sign Ortiz and Ross, and according to a baseball source last week were closing in on an extension to sign Ortiz, who would like to end his career with the Red Sox. The sides have agreed on a two-year term, the source said, but were still negotiating the dollars, with Ortiz seeking in the neighborhood of $25 million and the Sox offering a figure believed to be several million less.
Last winter, the Red Sox offered Ortiz a two-year deal for $18 million, but he declined it and accepted salary arbitration instead. Ortiz and the club reached an agreement before a scheduled hearing, Ortiz signing a one-year deal for $14.575 million.
Ortiz turns 37 on Nov. 18, but is coming off a season in which he was on pace to have his best season since 2007 until he missed 71 games with a strained right Achilles tendon. Ortiz had 23 home runs in just 90 games, and his OPS of 1.026 was his highest since his 1.066 in 2007.
The Red Sox, in order to obtain draft-pick compensation for Ortiz or any of their other free agents, before 5 p.m. on Friday must make a qualifying offer, which is based on the average salary of the highest-paid 125 players in the game. That figure this season is expected to be around $13.3 million.
If a player receives a qualifying offer and accepts it, he becomes a signed player for the 2013 season. He has until 12 days after the World Series to accept a qualifying offer. If a player who receives a qualifying offer signs with another team, that team surrenders its first-round draft choice and the team losing the free agent gains a supplemental first-round pick, or “sandwich pick,” after the first round.
Free agents may sign with teams other than their own club six days after the World Series, which means the Red Sox will already be reaching out to players they have targeted.
That would seem to give the Red Sox some urgency to get a deal done for Ortiz in order to avoid the possibility of losing him or having him accept a qualifying offer.
The Red Sox also were expected to have organizational meetings this week, with manager John Farrell due to return to Boston by Tuesday, but those plans may be impacted by Hurricane Sandy. The Sox also had plans to interview pitching coach Rick Peterson sometime this week, but that also could face delays because of the weather.