Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said on Monday that the Red Sox will remain open to reaching a deal with David Ortiz and Alfredo Aceves right up to the point of conducting an arbitration hearing, but he did acknowledge that the Sox have been put in a position where they must prepare for arbitration hearings with both based on the fact that there has not yet been grounds for an agreement.
Ortiz and the Red Sox had a significant gap in their filing values, with the Sox offering a $12.65 million salary to their longtime lineup staple, and Ortiz requesting $16.5 million. Ortiz hit .309 with a .398 OBP, .554 slugging mark and .953 OPS along with 29 homers and 96 RBI in 2011.
Aceves went 10-2 with a 2.61 ERA in 114 innings. His 24-3 record gives him the highest winning percentage of all time (.889) among pitchers with at least 25 big league decisions. Aceves filed for a $1.6 million salary, while the Sox filed at $900,000.
"We’ve had continued dialogue with both guys. I couldn’t handicap it right now," said Cherington. "We’re just going to prepare for the case. We’re a team that will continue to talk right up until the hearing. We’ll see what happens up until then."
The swing in the Red Sox' budget could be more than $4 million, but Cherington suggested that the outcome of the two arbitration cases would not reshape the course of the team's offseason.
"I don’t think [the results of the cases are] significant, no," said Cherington. "Sure, if you go to a hearing there’s a chance you win, a chance you lose. Depending on the outcome, it changes your payroll to some degree. To that extent, it changes things to some degree, but I wouldn’t say it’s significant."
For complete Red Sox coverage, visit weei.com/redsox .