A shiny new deal for David Ortiz

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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.

Kings' Cousins: 'Only goal this season' is to make playoffs

Kings' Cousins: 'Only goal this season' is to make playoffs

With their 109-104 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Monday night, the Sacramento Kings sit 10 games under .500 at 17-27. In almost any other season, that would mean that they were dead in the water in the Western Conference playoff race. But this it the 2016-17 season where anything is possible at the bottom.

Following Sacramento’s win at the Palace at Auburn Hills, DeMarcus Cousins was asked about the playoff picture.

“It’s my only goal this season,” Cousins told reporters following the game. “My only goal.” 

When pushed on the subject, he gave a more complete answer.

“Oh man, it’s eating me alive - every loss or every time another team wins that’s battling for the eighth spot, it’s eating me alive,” Cousins added. “Our only goal is to be in the playoffs this season.”

The Kings snapped a five-game losing streak with the win over the Pistons and they came into the evening just 2-10 over their previous 12 games. 

Once they get through their current eight game road trip, they spend the entire month of February in the Pacific time zone and play 11 over their next 13 games at Golden 1 Center.  

“The one thing I can give credit to this team about is us staying together and being a positive locker room through the ups and downs,” Cousins said. “I’m still confident and I still believe we’re going to make that push for the playoffs.”

Despite the rough patch, the Kings remain just a game and a half out of the eighth spot in the Western Conference standings. No one is running away with that last playoff spot, at least not yet.

 

Lawson, bench unit spark Kings' much-needed win over Pistons

Lawson, bench unit spark Kings' much-needed win over Pistons

Everyone must contribute. With Rudy Gay gone for the season, Sacramento needs a team effort each night out if they are going to have a chance of turning things around. Balancing the roster on the fly is never easy, but it’s the hand that the Kings were dealt when their second leading scorer tore his Achilles last week.

Needing a win in the worst way, the Kings walked into the Palace at Auburn Hills and came away with a huge 109-104 victory. Demarcus Cousins put up numbers, but it was the supporting cast that found a way to rise to the occasion and snap the team’s five-game losing streak.

“We’re going to need everybody on this team,” Cousins told reporters following the game. “At some point, everyone on the bench is going to win a game for us. Tonight, it was Ty (Lawson), it was Willie (Cauley-Stein) and it was Malachi (Richardson).”

Lawson was a magician with the ball. He entered the game with the Kings down just one with 3:36 remaining in the first quarter, but the Pistons caught fire around that time and pushed the lead to 11 with 20 seconds remaining in the quarter.

It looked like Sacramento might fall behind big once again, but then Lawson and the bench unit took over.

“Ty Lawson, Malachi Richardson and Willie Cauley-Stein had a great energy when we were down 11 in the first half,” Joerger told reporters. “Obviously, probably the best Willie’s played all year. Same for Malachi. He got some run, he got a little burn in the second half, felt pretty good.”

Powered by Lawson, the offense instantly opened up in the second quarter as the Kings tracked down the Pistons on their home floor. Sacramento outscored Detroit 37-24 in the frame to take a three point lead into the intermission. Lawson posted nine points and handed out four assists in the quarter.

“When our offense gets sticky, he’s able to create shots for guys by getting kickouts and getting in the lane,” Joerger said.

The 5-foot-11 point guard didn’t let up in the second half, finishing the night with 19 points and six assists in 23 minutes of action.  

“Chico just goes and plays, man, that’s Chico,” Cousins said of Lawson. “If there’s anyone with a green light to just go and play, it’s him. We love what he does with this team. He’s a spark off the bench for us. He gets us going when there’s a slump. We love the little guy.”

Lawson has become a catalyst off the bench for coach Jeorger. The 29-year-old speedster signed a one-year deal with the Kings late in the offseason and he’s quickly found his niche with the team.

“You play with Ty, you can’t help by want to run, because he will pitch it to you and that’s the best motivation - everybody wants to score,” said Joerger.

Cousins and Lawson didn’t do it alone. Cauley-Stein had one of his games of the season, finishing the night with 12 points and five rebounds. Darren Collison added 12 points, Garrett Temple chipped in 11 points and veteran Matt Barnes added 10 points and eight rebounds.  

“It’s a big, bounce back win,” Cousins said. “We were kind of heartbroken about the last lost. We felt we did everything needed to pull a win and it just didn’t go that way for us. We kind of showed our character and showed we could overcome some type of adversity with the win tonight.”

The Kings are back at it on Wednesday in Cleveland when they hit game four of their season-long eight-game road trip. They’ll face LeBron James and the championship Cavs for the second time this month.  

“It’s huge, we had a little stretch where we lost like eight of nine games, something like that,” Lawson told CSN’s Kayte Christensen following the game. “Getting a win going into Cleveland, it makes us feel a little bit better. Now we’ve got to go in and get a tough one.”

A tough one indeed. Cleveland sits at 31-13 on the season, but they are coming off back-to-back losses against the Spurs and Pelicans.