Martinez helped convince Ortiz to sign a $12.5 million, two-year
contract extension on Friday. The first baseman-designated hitter
said he didn't want to leave the Boston clubhouse and the fans who
have made him a cult hero.
The deal also includes a club option for the 2007 season.
"He told me, 'The best move you can make is to sign with
Boston, stay around here,"' Ortiz said. "Right now it's not all
about the money. ... You don't get all your happiness from money.
You get your happiness from the guys around you."
But one of those guys is Martinez, a good friend who is one of
four key Red Sox players eligible for free agency after the year
along with shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, catcher Jason Varitek and
pitcher Derek Lowe.
"We have a lot of good players on the ballclub that I would
love to play with all the way through," Ortiz said. Asked if he
thought his signing might trigger others to stay, he said, "I hope
so. I hope, I hope. I want those guys around, too."
Ortiz, who is making $4,587,500 this year, was fifth in the AL
MVP voting last year, when he hit .288 with 39 doubles, 31 homers
and 101 RBIs. He was batting .261 with 16 doubles, 10 home runs and
31 RBIs going into Friday night's game against Toronto.
"He's a big part of this club, as are a lot of other guys,"
Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said.
Martinez has already said he has broken off talks and will test
the market. His agent, Fernando Cuza, who did not immediately
return a call, also represents Ortiz.
Garciaparra has rejected a four-year, $60 million deal that the
team reduced after the market softened in the past year. Convinced
they would not be able to sign him, the Red Sox tried to trade for
Alex Rodriguez last winter before he went to the New York Yankees
Lowe and Varitek, who share agent Scott Boras, are expected to
test the free-agent market after the season.
The Red Sox used to have a policy against negotiating during the
season, but team president Larry Lucchino said they have
"suspended" that rule because so many players were coming up at
one time. Epstein said Ortiz had not expressed any reservations
about negotiating through the year.
Although Lucchino said he hoped signing Ortiz would encourage
other free agents to stay, he noted that each player is concerned
with his own situation.
"That wasn't the motivation for signing this contract. David
Ortiz earned this contract," Lucchino said. "But if that helped,
we would certainly be pleased."
The extension will pay Ortiz $5.25 million next season and $6.5
million in 2006. There is a team option for $7.75 million in 2007
or a $750,000 buyout.
Ortiz, 28, was a key contributor last season as the team came
within five outs of the World Series. He was credited with keeping
the Red Sox clubhouse loose with his sense of humor and friendship
with fellow Dominican Manny Ramirez.
He signed with the Red Sox as a free agent last season after
Martinez made a call to the Boston brass to campaign for his fellow
Dominican. Ortiz spent six seasons in Minnesota, where he helped
spark the Twins' resurgence from likely candidate for contraction
to AL Central contender.
Entering this season, Ortiz had a career .271 batting average
with 89 home runs and 339 RBIs. He was signed by Seattle in 1992
and traded to Minnesota in 1996.