38-year-old David Ortiz has been signed to an extension with the Boston Red Sox
So why have they just agreed to an extension with 38-year-old David Ortiz, who was already signed through the end of this season?
Because Ortiz is the exception to the rule, according to Red Sox GM Ben Cherington.
The exception to the rule, indeed.
In 2013, Ortiz missed most of April, but still managed to put up a remarkable season. He hit .309 with 30 HR and 103 RBI, posting an OPS+ of 160, which is comparable to his MVP candidate years in his peak.
That's all despite leading baseball with 27 intentional walks. Despite being 37 years old, pitchers feared him.
If Ortiz is healthy, there's little doubt among the Red Sox organization that he'll continue to be one of the premier hitters in the game.
Ortiz has remarkable caché in Boston, as the only Red Sox player who was a member of all three of their World Series Championship teams since breaking their 86-year drought.
That may be another reason Cherington was willing to bend the rules a bit for him, knowing that the fan outrage could be at an all-time high if he were to be wearing another uniform in 2015. Another messy divorce with a star player could result in him wearing Yankee pinstripes, much like Johnny Damon and Jacoby Ellsbury did after leaving Boston. That would be disastrous PR for the Red Sox, and fans would never live it down if Ortiz had another elite season outside of Fenway Park.
This is a slightly riskier move than the Red Sox would like, but it's David freaking Ortiz. In 11 seasons with the team so far, they've paid him an average of about $10 million per year. Realistically speaking, his 2003-2007 seasons alone would have earned him that much in free agency.
The Red Sox could pay him $20 million per year for the next 3 seasons, and they still would have gotten more than their money's worth out of him in his Red Sox career.
Sure, he could fall off the proverbial cliff anytime, but like Cherington said, Ortiz is the exception to the rule.