NEW YORK — General manager Ben Cherington said Wednesday that retaining David Ortiz is “a priority” as the Red Sox enter what is sure to be a busy offseason.
Ortiz will become a free agent after the World Series if the Sox are unable to reach agreement on a new contract with their longtime DH.
“David is someone that we feel strongly about bringing back,” Cherington said before a 14-2 loss to the Yankees. “We’re trying to figure out a way to do that. We hope that happens.”
Ortiz accepted arbitration last season, then settled with the team on a one-year deal worth $14.575 million. He has complained about the deal since, feeling he deserved multiple seasons.
“I want to stay and I hope I stay,” Ortiz said. “But fair is fair. I think I have proven myself in Boston. What do you think?”
Ortiz said the sides spoke during the season then tabled discussions. Those could start again soon.
Ortiz hit .318 with a 1.026 OPS this season, hitting 23 home runs and driving in 60 runs over 90 games. He suffered a strained right Achilles’ tendon July 16, and played only one other game before the season ended.
The injury, Ortiz said, should be fully healed by the end of the month.
Ortiz turns 37 in November but remains a potent hitter. He also has become the face of the franchise in many ways and is a favorite of owner John Henry.
Cherington also said the Sox have started contract talks with outfielder Cody Ross.
Signed to a one-year, $3 million deal in January, Ross has been one of the best bargains in baseball. He hit .267 with 22 homers and 81 RBIs.
Only Dustin Pedroia and Mike Aviles played more games this season for the Sox.
Ross, who turns 32 in December, has said he is open to staying in Boston and enjoyed playing for the Sox despite the painful season. Like Ortiz, he is seeking a multiyear deal.
“We’re trying to get on the same page,” Ross said. “I love playing here. I love the park. I love the fans. I love the city. Definitely, it’s a perfect place for me.”
Regrets? A few
Bobby Valentine said one of his regrets was making a comment in April that Kevin Youkilis did not seem as physically and emotionally into the game as he once was. The comment was immediately controversial. Cherington told Valentine to apologize and Youkilis stayed angry at Valentine until he was traded in June to the White Sox. The comment, which Valentine considered innocuous, also created tension in the clubhouse. “I didn’t expect that reaction,” Valentine said. Valentine actually proved correct. Youkilis went into Wednesday night’s game hitting .235 with a .745 OPS. Both are career lows . . . Valentine added another off-field incident to his ledger Tuesday when he took a tumble off his bicycle while riding through Central Park. Valentine said he fell while reading a text message and ended up in a muddy ditch. He came away with some scrapes on his legs and a sore hip.
Bane added to staff
The Red Sox added veteran scout Eddie Bane as a special assistant for player personnel. Bane, 60, spent the last two seasons with the Tigers as a major league scout. He also was the director of scouting for the Angels from 2004-10 and oversaw the additions of such players as Jered Weaver, Kendrys Morales, Mark Trumbo, and Mike Trout. Cherington said Bane would have a significant voice. “We were looking for someone to be a key evaluator for us and be part of the decision-making pool,” he said. “Eddie’s got a ton of experience. He’s done just about everything that’s important to me. He’s scouted everywhere there is to scout.” Bane’s son, Jaymie, has been a Red Sox pro scout since 2006.
Sitting seventhThe Sox will have the seventh pick in the amateur draft next June . . . Daniel Nava is expected to have surgery over the weekend in Boston to remove a ganglion cyst in his left wrist. His recovery should be quick. Nava, after not playing a major league game in 2011, got in 88 games this season and was a regular in left field . . . Righthander Mark Melancon closed his season by allowing one run over a span of 10 innings. His ERA dropped from 7.71 to 6.20. “I didn’t have a good season but I feel like I showed them what I am capable of,” Melancon said. “That helps a little.” . . . The Sox finished with losses in eight consecutive road games and 18 of their last 23 games away from Fenway Park . . . The Sox allowed 14 or more runs six times and 10 or more 15 times . . . Pedro Ciriaco finished 22 of 53 (.415) against the Yankees with seven RBIs over 14 games. He hit .262 with 12 RBIs in 62 games against other teams.