FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz has a rejoinder for the critics who insist he should honor the final year of his contract rather than request a one-year extension.
"I'm tired of hearing them talk (expletive) about me when I talk about my contract," Ortiz told the Boston Herald after reporting to the Red Sox' camp Tuesday. "Hey, every time I talk about my contract, I earn it, (expletive). So don't be giving me that (expletive)."
Ortiz is coming off a historic World Series in which he batted .688 and earned MVP honors. With only this season remaining on his two-year, $29 million contract, he publicly stated in December that he would like a one-year extension. Since then, critics in the media have lined up to tell Ortiz to shut his mouth, even though he emerged as a franchise icon who continues to produce 30-homer, 100-RBI seasons into his late-30s.
"I just want people to stop talking to me about that," Ortiz said en route to his car after attending his first spring training workout. "When you put up numbers like I'm putting up, who's thinking about retiring, know what I'm saying? People keep on asking me, how long do you want to play? When are you going to retire? Dude, look at my numbers. I ain't planning on retiring right now. When I slow down, then I'll retire."
Ortiz, who turned 38 in November, did not show any sign of slowing down last year. He batted .309 with 30 homers, 103 RBIs and a .959 on-base-plus-slugging before dominating in the postseason. If not for Ortiz's grand slam in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series, the Red Sox likely would not have advanced to the World Series, to say nothing of winning it.
And despite reports to the contrary, Ortiz asked the Red Sox only for one more year, not a long-term extension that would keep him under contract into his 40s. He will make $15 million this season and would like to make $15 million 2015, too.
"Guys putting up my numbers, they're making $25, $30 million. I'm not asking for that. I'm asking for half of it," Ortiz said. "And (critics) are still (complaining) about it?"
With the exception of the debate over his contract demands, Ortiz has been in fine spirits after winning his third World Series ring.
"I've been doing my thing, getting prepared for the season," Ortiz said. "I'm living the dream."
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's a friggin beard. No one died. We're going to be alright." -- Red Sox left fielder Jonny Gomes, who shaved the runaway beard that inspired many of his teammates to grow similar beards last season