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David Ortiz could earn up to $30M

BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox announced Monday that designated hitter David Ortiz has signed a two-year contract with the team that is worth $26 million, with incentives that could bring the value as high as $30 million.

Ortiz, who made $14.575 million this past season on a one-year deal, will get a $1 million signing bonus, and make $14 million in 2013 and $11 million in 2014, according to a team source. The source also said the 2014 salary could escalate to between $13 million and $15 million depending on how many games Ortiz misses because of the Achilles injury that sidelined him for the second half of 2012.

Ortiz, the face of the Red Sox franchise for nearly a decade, had made it clear he wanted a multiyear deal, and given his production before the injury and based on his leadership off the field during the difficult season, both sides were confident a deal such as this would come to fruition.

"I don't think there was any doubt," Ortiz said. "They approached me well, and our negotiations this year were easier than ever. They know what they were looking for, and it wasn't even a going back-and-forth situation. It was pretty much this is it and let's agree with it.

"The whole plan is pretty much more than coming out next year and having a great year, and that's what they're looking for. They know the pieces they need to put together to be successful next year and make sure we have a good season."

Sporting both of his Red Sox World Series rings, Ortiz called it an honor to be back, in hopes of helping this club win another World Series championship and possibly one day being able to retire as a member of the Red Sox. For now, he's concentrating only on preparing for the 2013 season.

"My focus right now is to provide what this organization expects from me the next couple of years," Ortiz said.

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said that once the dismal 2012 season ended, the club's main priority from a roster standpoint was to re-sign Ortiz. The Red Sox GM called it a "very important first step" for the club's offseason plans.

"David's been an incredible performer for the Red Sox for 10 years," Cherington said. "What he's done on the field speaks for itself, and he's also been a great leader off the field and has represented the team as well as one can possibly do that.

"We're thrilled to keep him here, and we want David to retire as a Red Sox and we hope that's many years from now. But right now we're just happy he's going to be sitting there in the middle of our lineup once again next year."

Ortiz turns 37 on Nov. 18, and the Red Sox weren't concerned with his age given his production during his 10-year tenure in Boston, including in 2012. Despite the Achilles injury, he hit .318 with 23 home runs and 60 RBIs in 90 games.

"As with any player, you've got to get to the bottom of the health and figure out the risk involved," Cherington said. "Our benefit is we know David so well and we know how hard he's going to work to put himself in the best position to play and be healthy. Since we work with him so much, we know what happened with the Achilles this year and we have been working with David to identify some things we can do proactively to help him. He's feeling a lot better now.

"It's not a concern moving forward any more than it would be for any player. As we approached this, we looked at the body of work, the track record. He's been incredibly productive and durable over the course of his career. He's been one of the more consistent, durable and productive players in the game for a long span of time. That gave us the comfort to do a two-year deal, which was important to David."

Cherington and Red Sox ownership praised Ortiz's work ethic and said they hoped his career would not end after this current contract expires. As Ortiz explained, if he's still hitting the ball out of the ballpark and he's not swinging and missing, he will continue to play.

"There's one thing I'm going to make clear right here: I get prepared to play and I like to see the pain on the opposition. I like to win," Ortiz said. "I'm the kind of guy that the season is never over for me. I still work and I still put myself together right now when everyone else is vacationing. I love winning and I love performing well.

"Sometimes things don't work out the way you expect, but my concern, and I've seen this in my career, the harder you work, it will pay off at some point, and that's always been my goal."

Despite the Achilles strain that forced him to miss 71 of the last 72 games of the season, Ortiz said he's feeling good and moving forward as planned this offseason. He's already begun his leg workouts.

Even though he's healthy, Ortiz and the Red Sox agreed that playing for his native Dominican Republic in the upcoming World Baseball Classic would not be in the best interest for Ortiz or the Red Sox.

"That might be an interruption between the things (the Red Sox) are planning for me to do for next season and being ready to go for next season," Ortiz said.

Said Cherington: "We want to protect the team and protect him the best we can."

As the Red Sox turned the page on 2012 with a new manager and now with Ortiz signed to a multiyear deal, everyone wants to focus on contending in 2013. Cherington & Co. still have plenty of work to do this offseason, but they believe the club is moving forward in a positive manner.

"It was very painful to see what we went through this year, this season, and (management) is doing a good job to put a good team together for next year and make sure that we have a better season just like everybody expects," Ortiz said.