David Ortiz signed a new, two-year contract with the Boston Red Sox Monday and before the ink dried he expressed his displeasure with fired manager Bobby Valentine, who had insinuated that Ortiz quit on the team after being injured near the end of a forgettable season.
“No. 1, never bite the hand that feeds you, because in the end that will come back to bite you,” said Ortiz, who signed deal worth $26 million. “I was one of those players that always showed support for him. In fact, I held a couple of player meetings.”
Valentine said in an interview with Bob Costas on the NBC Sports Network on October 23: “(Ortiz)realized that this trade meant that we’re not going to run this race and we’re not even going to finish the race properly and he decided not to play anymore,I think at that time it was all downhill from there.”
The soon-to-be 37-year-old Ortiz emphatically denied that deal had anything to do with him missing the rest of the season and saying he ignored a message from Valentine after the interview because he thought he was dealing with someone with “some mental issues.”
“No. 2, the day that I returned from the DL, I told him that I was not sure what percentage health-wise I was in, but that I could not be out there without trying to help,” Ortiz said. “When I told him that, I put my career on the side to help him and the team. Being in an incredible amount of pain, I went out there to support them.
“No. 3, after he went on national TV to say what he said, he sent me a text message trying to tell me that it was the media trying to change things. I did not respond to the message and I said to myself, this guy must have some mental issues or needs medicine or something? I said, I am dealing with someone crazy and I am not going to drive myself crazy, so it is better if I leave it alone.
“I am a player that has the game in his blood,” he added. “In the 10 years that I have (been) in Boston, I have been the soul of the organization and there has never been a second where David Ortiz being able to go on the field and do what he does has decided to stay seated.”
Ortiz, who made $14.575 million last season on a one-year deal, will make $14 million in 2013 and $11 million in 2014, and will get a $1 million signing bonus with performance incentives that could bring the total value to $30 million, according to a team source.
“Stopping me (from playing) was the decision of the doctors, management, the manager and me,” Ortiz told ESPNDeportes.com. “The team doctor recommended that I stop playing to not make the situation worse for the tendon.”
Talks between the soon-to-be 37-year-old Ortiz and the Red Sox began late in the season and concluded with an accord Friday night. The veteran slugger has spent the past 10 seasons in Boston and made no secret about his desire to remain with the team.
Ortiz was on pace for a productive 2012 before he suffered a right Achilles strain July 16. He was limited to only one more game the rest of the season and finished with a .318 average, 23 home runs and 60 RBIs in 90 games.
Since his arrival in Boston before the 2003 season, Ortiz has spent the past 10 seasons becoming one of the best DHs in the game. He has a .290 career average with the Red Sox, including 343 homers and 1,088 RBIs. He was a critical component of the team’s two World Series championships in 2004 and ’07.