Red Sox 'hopeful' about keeping David Ortiz

Jim Rogash

The slugger is set to hit the open market if he is not signed by Saturday morning.

The Boston Red Sox own exclusive negotiating rights with designated hitter David Ortiz through Saturday morning, but the club is hopeful to retain the slugger's services even if he hits the open market.

Ortiz is eligible to become a free agent on Saturday, and the Red Sox are likely to make a one-year, $13.3 million qualifying offer, which would allow the team to gain a draft pick should Ortiz sign with another organization.

While Boston endured a miserable 69-93 2012 season, Ortiz was one of the few steady hands in the lineup when healthy. The lefty hit .318/.415/.611 in 383 plate appearances, but he was limited to just 90 games due to Achilles problems. It was the fewest number of games Ortiz had appeared in since his 2001 campaign with the Minnesota Twins.

Ortiz, who earned almost $14.6 million in 2012, is said to be looking for a two-year deal. He is a Fernando Cuza client.

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