David Ortiz accepts arbitration

DALLAS -- David Ortiz officially accepted the offer of salary arbitration from the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night, putting the designated hitter in line for a pay raise on his $12.5 million salary and placing him one step closer to his desired goal of ending his career with the team.

Ortiz informed the Red Sox several hours before Wednesday's midnight deadline. That makes him a signed player for 2012, but does not rule out the possibility of the Sox and Ortiz continuing to work on a two-year deal. The Sox offered him two years for $18 million, and in the absence of any known competition for his services, did not move off the offer.

Ortiz could expect to get $14 million to $15 million in arbitration.

"If there's a way to make it work, we'd like to have him on the team moving forward and potentially have him finish his career with the Red Sox," Boston general manager Ben Cherington said Tuesday. "We've had good dialogue, and I think there's a good understanding of our respective positions and a lot of mutual respect. If we don't reach anything by tomorrow, we'll see what his decision is. If we don't and he accepts, then we'll be happy with that outcome."

Ortiz, 36, had a rebound year in 2011, batting .309 with 29 homers and 96 RBIs, and has been the most visible face of the Red Sox for the last decade. In nine seasons with Boston, he is batting .289 with 320 homers and 1,028 RBIs.

A seven-time All-Star, Ortiz has split 15 MLB seasons between Minnesota and Boston, batting .283 with 378 homers and 1,276 RBIs.

Meanwhile, righty Dan Wheeler didn't follow Ortiz's lead, instead declining the Red Sox's offer of salary arbitration.

Gordon Edes covers the Red Sox for ESPNBoston.com.