Sox want to bring back Papi, Ross next season

Sox want to bring back Papi, Ross next season

Sox want to bring back Papi, Ross next season
NEW YORK -- For all the Red Sox have to figure out this season, they at least know this much: They want David Ortiz and Cody Ross back.

Before the final game of his first season as general manager, Ben Cherington said Wednesday that he's already made inroads toward new contracts with the soon-to-be free agents.

"We've got a couple free agents we're talking to now," Cherington said. "David is a priority, and we've talked to Cody Ross also. I'm not going to comment anymore other than that, just to say we're talking to those guys. David is someone that we feel strongly about bringing back, and we're trying to figure out a way to do that. Cody fit in well and had a good year. It's an area of need going forward."

Ortiz, who turns 37 in November, played in just one game after July 16 because of a right Achilles injury. When the slugger was on the field, he was dominant, and the veteran is the most iconic player the Sox have.

Ortiz wasn't thrilled he and the Sox were slated for an arbitration hearing last winter, but the two sides hammered out a one-year deal before the hearing took place. Now it seems the Sox are trying to ensure Ortiz feels wanted.

"Is that bad?" said Ortiz in response to Cherington's comment that he is a priority. "We talked about it a while ago, but we haven't gotten back together since. We were just waiting for the season to go over and see how things go."

Ortiz hit .318 with 23 home runs and had a .415 on-base percentage in 90 games. Health-wise, he said he's close to being 100 percent.

"I will be pretty soon, feeling good," Ortiz said. "Things are going the way we're expecting. I'll be back in activity probably by next month."

Ortiz accepted arbitration last year, when his goal was to get a multiyear deal. That hasn't changed heading into this offseason.

Ross, who turns 32 in December, was one of baseball's best bargains last winter. Signed to a one-year, $3 million deal, he hit 22 home runs and put up a .267/.326/.481 line in 130 games. Fenway Park suits him particularly well, as he hit .298 there with 13 homers and 25 of his 36 doubles. Ross' OBP away from Fenway was .294 compared to .356 at home.

"Obviously we're trying to get on the same page," Ross said of a return. "I said I love playing here, I love the park, I love the fans, I love the city, love the media," Ross said. "But, you know, definitely it's a perfect place for me."