BOSTON — David Ortiz and the Boston Red Sox avoided salary arbitration by agreeing Monday to a one-year contract worth $14,575,000.
The deal for the slugging designated hitter was midway between the $16.5 million he asked for last month and the $12.65 million submitted by the Red Sox, which matched his 2011 earnings.
Ortiz became a free agent after the season then passed up a chance to go elsewhere when he accepted Boston’s arbitration offer on Dec. 7.
“I feel happy since I avoided going to arbitration,” he said on Monday, hours before the hearing had been scheduled to start in St. Petersburg, Fla. “People are used to seeing me with the Red Sox uniform and when you have so much time in one organization, and you’re identified with it, the best thing is to stay, even if it is for 1 or 2 million less.”
The Red Sox have not gone to an arbitration hearing in 10 years and have no unsigned players eligible for arbitration.
Ortiz hit .309 with 29 homers and 96 RBIs last year.
Signed as a free agent from the Minnesota Twins in 2003, the 36-year-old is entering his 10th season with the Red Sox.
“I figure I was gonna reach this deal, and that’s what we’re celebrating right now,” he said.
He played last season in the option year of a contract that paid him $65,225,000 over five seasons.
Ortiz remains in the middle of a Red Sox lineup that has undergone several changes since the team went 7-20 last September and missed the playoffs on the final day of the regular season.
Left fielder Carl Crawford is expected to miss the start of the season after surgery on his left wrist; shortstop Marco Scutaro was traded to Colorado; and catcher Jason Varitek and right fielder J.D. Drew were not re-signed.
But the first five batters in the lineup return led by center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who finished second in the AL MVP voting. Also back are second baseman Dustin Pedroia, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and third baseman Kevin Youkilis.
Ortiz had an outstanding season after getting off to poor starts the previous two years.
He finished fourth in the AL in slugging and on-base percentage and sixth in batting average. His average, homers, RBIs, 162 hits, 70 extra-base hits, 40 doubles, .398 on-base percentage and .554 slugging percentage were all his highest totals in four years.
Ortiz is fifth in team history with 320 homers, 59 behind Dwight Evans for fourth place, and sixth with 1,028 RBIs, 219 behind Bobby Doerr for fifth place.
The 36-year-old accepted Boston’s offer of arbitration under the last year of the old collective bargaining agreement. Starting this fall, instead of arbitration teams may give their players qualifying offers equal to the average salary of the top 125 players ranked by salary.
Boston also has agreed to a minor league contract with right-hander John Maine, who has not been asked to attend big league camp.
He last pitched in the majors in 2010, starting nine games for the New York Mets before elbow surgery. Last year, he was 1-3 with a 7.43 ERA in 46 innings with Colorado’s Triple-A team at Colorado Springs. In five years with the Mets, Maine was 41-36 with a 4.35 ERA. His best season was 2007 when he went 15-10 with a 3.91 ERA.