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November 5, 2012

Ortiz hopes to spur Red Sox rebound next year

Ortiz, the face of the Red Sox since helping Boston end an 86-year World Series drought in 2004, finalized a $26 million, two-year contract on Monday, a deal that could be worth up to $30 million if he avoids another significant Achilles tendon injury next year.

The soon-to-be 37-year old had expressed his preference for a two-year deal the past two seasons. The club decided that keeping him and agreeing to his desire was a good first move this offseason.

“I don’t think there was any doubt,” he said during a Fenway Park news conference. “They approached me this year and our negotiation this year was easier than ever. They know what they were looking for. There wasn’t even ever a back and forth situation. It was pretty much: ‘This is it and let’s agree with it.’ They know the pieces they need to put together to be successful this year.”

Ortiz gets a $1 million signing bonus payable on Jan. 15 and salaries of $14 million next season and $11 million in 2014.

His 2014 salary would increase to $15 million if he has 20 or fewer days on the disabled list next season caused by an Achilles tendon injury — such as the one that limited him to one game after July 16 this year. If he has 21-40 days on the DL next year caused by an Achilles injury, his 2014 salary would go up to $13 million. The 2014 salary would not escalate if he has 41 days or more on the DL next year caused by an Achilles injury.

“After the season we identified a lot of things we wanted to do this offseason,” general manager Ben Cherington said.

“The most important one was to get David signed. This is a very important first step to our offseason. David has been an incredible performer for the Red Sox for 10 years. What he’s done on the field speaks for itself. He’s also been an incredible leader of the team as well as one can possibly do that.”

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