Originally posted on Ted's Army  |  Last updated 2/2/12

And now for something completely different, the Red Sox may actually have to attend an arbitration hearing.  The first in a decade.  It appears as though neither the Sox nor Ortiz are backing down from their numbers.

ESPN's Gordon Edes has the story:

It appears "likely" that the Boston Red Sox and David Ortiz are headed to a hearing to decide his arbitration case, a major league source with knowledge of the situation said Wednesday.

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said Wednesday night that hearings for Ortiz and pitcher Alfredo Aceves are not scheduled for this week, so there is still time to negotiate. Aceves is the only other Red Sox player who filed for arbitration who is still without a deal.

If the sides do go to a hearing, it will be the team's first since Tim Wakefield in 2002.

While Ortiz is asking the Sox for $16.5 million for the 2012 season, the Sox are only offering him a $150,000 raise over last season's $12.5 million salary.  That's obviously too low.  Because most arbitration decisions usually come close to splitting the difference between the two sides, you can realistically expect Ortiz to net something in the $14 million range; as everybody's projected all along.

Aceves, on the other hand, wants $1.6 million.  The Sox offered him $900,000.  He'll undoubtedly end up making north of one million for the season.

Cherington can, and will, continue to negotiate right up until the hearing so it's still possible that arbitration can be avoided.  But in Ortiz's case, I think he's going to hold firm at $16.5 million.  If the Sox won't agree or at least come very close (and they won't), Ortiz will have no problem letting the arbitration panel decide.

Generally, this doesn't really matter.  Both players will suit up for the Sox in 2012 regardless of the outcome.  But in a world where the Sox are throwing money around like they have Bob Cratchit's bank account instead of John Henry's, forking over another 2, 3, 4 million dollars to Ortiz could kill the potential to add anybody else this offseason.  Not that the door isn't virtually closed on that anyway.  But a guy can hope.

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