A shiny new deal for David Ortiz

933635.jpg

A shiny new deal for David Ortiz

From Comcast SportsNetBOSTON (AP) -- David Ortiz got what he wanted a lot easier than he ever expected.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."Sitting at a table with Cherington to his right, one couldn't miss the World Series rings that Ortiz was wearing from 2004 and 2007.Now, he'd like to help the team build from a last-place finish and 69-93 record, Boston's poorest since 1966."My focus right now is to provide what this organization expects from me the next two years," he said. "I'm a person that likes to get prepared for a challenge. Ben talked to me during the season and told me and a couple of my teammates he wants to build an organization around us. It's very painful to see what we went through this season."During the club's historic 2004 run, Big Papi had consecutive game-ending hits in extra innings of Games 4 and 5 of the AL championship series against the Yankees as the Red Sox became the first major league team to overcome a 0-3 deficit in a best-of-seven postseason series.The eight-time All-Star has 343 homers for Boston, fifth on the team's career list, and has 1,088 RBIs."We looked at the body of work and the track record. He's been incredibly productive and durable throughout the course of his career," Cherington said. "He's been one of the more consistent and durable players in the game over a long span of time. That gave us the comfort to give him a two-year deal, which was important to David."Ortiz, who will turn 37 on Nov. 18, is a career .285 hitter with 401 homers and 1,386 RBIs.He was having another solid year, batting .318 with 23 homers and 60 RBIs before going down with the Achilles injury in mid-July. He played in just one game the rest of the season.During an interview on NBC Sports Network in October, ex-Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said Ortiz "decided not to play anymore" after Boston traded Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a move predicated on dumping salary.Ortiz downplayed the issue in the first question of the news conference."About the Bobby situation, I try to not add too much," he said. "You guys know it was something that made me feel uncomfortable. You guys know I've been here the last 10 years and know how I go about my business. The most important thing is you guys are face to face with every day, and you already know how important it is to be on the field and represent what I need to do."He closed the answer with "It's time to turn the page and move on."Asked whether he'd like to finish his career after this contract, the very personable Ortiz had a playful answer."The one thing I always keep in mind is when I'm full swinging and the ball isn't going anywhere, that's when its time to go," he said, smiling. "But I haven't gotten there yet.""We're thrilled to keep him here. We want David to retire with the Red Sox," Cherington said. "We hope that's many years from now. Right now we're happy that he'll be sitting in the middle of our lineup next year."Ortiz has played 10 seasons with the Red Sox after he was let go by the Minnesota Twins.

Fultz a perfect fit, but do Kings have assets required to trade up?

Fultz a perfect fit, but do Kings have assets required to trade up?

It’s lonely at the top, which is where Markelle Fultz sits on almost every 2017 NBA Draft board. The Brooklyn Nets should be set for the next decade with a big time scoring point guard. Instead, it’s the Boston Celtics who have no choice but to take Fultz with the No. 1 overall selection after a savvy trade that sent veterans Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to the Nets for a stack of picks and players back in 2013.

Fultz can do it all. He’s deadly from the outside, he can take you off the bounce and he has elite passing skills to boot. In a draft packed with star potential, specifically at the point guard position, the freshman from Washington stands out well above the rest.  

It would take a major shake up at the top for Fultz not to have his name called first on draft night, but there are plenty of very talented players sitting on the board behind him. Here is a deeper look at the potential top overall selection.

The Positives:
Fultz has tremendous size, length and athleticism for an NBA point guard. He measured in at 6-foot-5, 195-pounds with a 6-foot-10 wingspan and has a frame built to take on muscle. At just 19-years-old, he is already well defined physically and has plenty of room to grow and get stronger.

A crafty, high-end scorer, Fultz changes speed and direction well and has an advanced Euro-step for a young player. He averaged 23.2 points in 35.7 minutes a night for the Huskies while shooting 47.6 percent from the field and 41.3 percent from three. He can score from all three levels, finish well above the rim and play through contact.

In his lone season in college, Fultz showed that he is not only a legitimate scoring threat, but he is a willing passer and an unselfish teammate. While Lonzo Ball is considered the true pass first point guard of the draft, Fultz had a higher assist rate (35.5 to 31.5) and lower turnover rate (13.4 to 18.2) than the star guard from UCLA.

Fultz rebounds well for his position, averaging 5.7 rebounds per game at Washington. He also has potential as a defender, posting 1.6 steals and 1.2 blocks, although he is a work in progress on that end of the floor.

Known as a high-character kid and tireless worker off the court, Fultz has the entire package. He can also play the lead or shooting guard spot, which will come in handy if the Celtics decide to pair him with All-Star Isaiah Thomas in the backcourt.

The Negatives:
9-16 is a concern. Great college players should be able to will their team to victory, even if the talent around them is suspect. Washington was certainly worse off without Fultz down the stretch, losing their last six while he sat with a knee injury.

Shot selection and sloppy ball handling was also an issue this season. In Fultz’ defense, he played with a group that lacked overall talent and those issues might eventually disappear when he’s added to a roster that made it to the Eastern Conference Finals.  

Fultz is a quality chase down defender, but he fell asleep on plenty of plays or didn’t show a consistent fight on the defensive end. Lack of focus allowed for plenty of back cuts. He also showed an inconsistent effort fighting through screens.

He’s a work in progress on the defensive end, like most young players coming into the league. Most of these issues can easily be coached out of him at the next level.

Projection:
Fultz has an advanced feel and tons of room to expand his game. On the court, he resembles another former Husky in Brandon Roy. Fultz is much further along than Roy was at the same age, but possesses both the ability to score from anywhere on the court, as well as rebound and set up his teammates.  

It’s hard to imagine the Celtics passing on Fultz with the top overall selection, but if they do, teams will scramble trying to move up to select him. He would fit perfectly in the Kings starting backcourt alongside sophomore Buddy Hield, but Sacramento lacks the assets to move from five to one, Fultz’ likely landing spot.

 

Early offense, six strong from Cueto lift Giants past Braves in finale

Early offense, six strong from Cueto lift Giants past Braves in finale

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- The blisters on Johnny Cueto's middle and index fingers that limited his effectiveness in his last few starts haven't yet completely healed.

But the two-time All-Star is learning to pitch with them.

Cueto threw six strong innings and Brandon Crawford drove in three runs as the San Francisco Giants defeated the Atlanta Braves 7-1 on Sunday.

Cueto (5-4) bounced back from his roughest stretch as a Giant. He was 0-3 with a 4.33 ERA in his previous four starts.

"They're not bothering me like they were before," Cueto said through a translator. "I'm just getting used to it but I have to continue pitching until they get better."

The Giants won their third straight home series and posted their 11th victory in 18 games overall.

Crawford's two-run single highlighted a four-run second against R.A. Dickey (3-4) that made it 6-0.

Matt Kemp had three hits for Atlanta. But the Braves couldn't get much going against Cueto, who allowed one run on six hits and a walk. Cueto struck out eight, including five in a row at one point.

"He did what he needed to do to get us out," Kemp said. "We had chances to score runs and we didn't. I think in this series we really didn't do a good score of scoring runs."

Dickey allowed a season-high seven runs (six earned) on six hits and five walks in six innings.

"This can be a challenging place to throw because of the wind because it swirls so much," Dickey said.

Eduardo Nunez and Gorkys Hernandez each had two hits for the Giants. Joe Panik tripled to start the second-inning burst.

Cueto had two productive at-bats, bunting a runner to second in the second inning and driving in a run with a sacrifice fly in the third.

"It's always nice to have a lead and I thought Johnny was the sharpest he'd been this year," Giants catcher Buster Posey said. "Hopefully it's something he can build on. The changeup was working really well and his command of the fastball was really good."

Posey was 0 for 2 with two walks. He hasn't struck out in 55 consecutive plate appearances.

FUN FACTOR:
The Giants scored the game's first run when Nunez came around from third when a knuckleball glanced off catcher Kurt Suzuki glove in the bottom of the first. The play was ruled a passed ball. Asked if he had any empathy for the plight of his counterpart, Posey said "Yes, no question. It's not fun to hit, it doesn't look fun to catch, either."

FANCY FIELDING:
Hernandez made a diving catch in the gap in left-center robbing Emilio Bonifacio of an extra-base hit with one out in the seventh inning.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Braves: 2B Brandon Phillips left in the fifth for pinch-hitter Jace Peterson. Phillips fouled a ball off his foot in his last at-bat in the third.

Giants: LHP Madison Bumgarner will start his throwing program on Friday, manager Bruce Bochy said. Bumgarner will start out playing catch and make five rehab starts. The 2014 World Series MVP suffered a separated left shoulder in a dirt biking accident. "The progress is happening," Bochy said. "I think he sees light at the end of the tunnel." ... Slumping rookie INF Christian Arroyo was out of the lineup on Sunday and his playing status appears uncertain. Arroyo, who turns 22 on Tuesday, is 0 for 19 in his last five games. "I'll talk to him, about what his situation is," Bochy said. "I'm definitely planning on giving him a couple of days" off.

UP NEXT:
Braves: RHP Julio Teheran will make his first career start against the Angels in Anaheim on Monday. He is 3-9 with a 5.63 ERA in 15 career interleague starts.

Giants: LHP Matt Moore will face the Nationals for the second time in his career. He was with Tampa Bay when he gave up two runs in five innings against Washington in 2012.