David Ortiz has been through a lot in nearly a decade with the Red Sox.
He's earned two World Series rings and owns the club record for homers in a season. He suffered through a monumental September collapse last year, and has been sidelined with a strained right Achilles as the team faded out of the playoff picture this season.
This winter, he'll likely experience something entirely different: Being a free agent for the first time since signing with the Red Sox in January 2003.
''It's just been hard,'' said Ortiz, who has not played in a game the last two months. ''It's just one of those years that the front office and everyone knows that we've got to put a better team together. Everybody in the offseason has to reinforce it. Now we have more competition in this division.
''If we want to compete at this level, we've got to bring a better team.''