David Ortiz, Red Sox negotiations to start next week

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Red Sox to make designated hitter's contract top offseason priority.

Serious conversations between free-agent designated hitter David Ortiz and the Boston Red Sox front office about a contract extension should begin sometime next week, a source has told ESPNBoston.com's Joe McDonald. Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington has said re-signing the 36-year-old slugger is one of the organization's top priorities in the offseason.

Last offseason, Ortiz signed a one-year deal to stay with Boston. However, the eight-time All Star made it clear during the summer he was not happy about the contract that paid him about $14.6 million, a $2 million raise from the year before.

This season, a right Achilles strain forced Ortiz to miss 71 of Boston's final 72 games. He finished the year with 23 home runs and a .611 slugging percentage, one of the highest totals of his career.

The Red Sox ended the season with a disappointing 69-93 record and finished last in the American League East Division standings.

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