Sox had leverage, so why extend Ortiz?

SARASOTA, Fla. -- An undercurrent to the news that the Red Sox gave David Ortiz a $16 million extension for 2015, plus set up options for the following two years that would keep him in a Sox uniform through the age of 41, is this:

Why bother? On the face of it, the Red Sox held all the leverage. Did anyone truly believe that Ortiz would leave to play for another team? Or that any team would pay him what the Red Sox would?

General manager Ben Cherington offered his answer.

“I don’t think you can apply a single policy to every player,’’ Cherington said. “You have a guy like David who has meant so much to the team, on and off the field, for so long he sort of goes beyond a typical player relationship. I think we owe him our time, a conversation when he wants it. That doesn’t mean we’re always going to find a way to resolve something or find agreement on something.

“He’s sort of passed in our eyes a typical player in the context of contract negotiations. His importance to the team, on and off the field, is significant. We just felt like, you know what, let’s sit down and make something work that makes sense for you, makes sense for the team, and we think we’ve done that.’’