BOSTON -- Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino watched the announcement of David Ortiz’s signing Monday in the company of D’Angelo Ortiz, the slugger’s young son whom Lucchino also signed, to a hand-written contract worth $5.
With the Ortiz family taken care of, Lucchino said the Red Sox still have unfinished business with free-agent outfielder Cody Ross.
“We love the guy,’’ Lucchino said Monday afternoon. “We love Cody Ross. We’d love to get him signed. That would be the next order of business, in some ways, for us.
“But his agent has told us they’re interested in surveying the free agency market. But we want him to know we’d love to have him come back here.’’
The Red Sox have been talking with Ross about a new deal since July, but as much as they express their love for him, that affection has yet to translate into a three-year offer, according to sources familiar with negotiations. That was the same resistance Ross faced last winter, when he left the San Francisco Giants as a free agent. Ross did not get a three-year offer from the Giants, was unable to attract one as a free agent, and ultimately signed a one-year, $3 million deal with the Red Sox.
The difference between this winter and last? Ross is coming off a much better season in 2012 (.807 OPS, 22 home runs, 81 RBIs, 1.6 WAR) than he was in 2011 (.730, 14, 52, -0.1 WAR).
Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said that part of the goal for Ross in signing a one-year deal was to place him in a better negotiating position going forward.
“He did that, which is to his credit,’’ Cherington said. “We’re in a position now where it’s tougher to sign him. We’ll keep the door open, keep talking. At the same time, we have to consider other alternatives too.’’
One of those alternatives could be Torii Hunter, who did not receive a qualifying offer from the Los Angeles Angels and is a free agent. Hunter is 37, but is coming off an excellent season (.817 OPS, 16 HRs, 92 RBIs) and remains an above-average defender.