David Ortiz is back with the Boston Red Sox. The Dominican slugger signed a contract tying his future with the organization in perpetuity. "Forever" was the word used by the team in a press release sent Wednesday announcing the new terms of their relationship.
Ortiz will serve as a mentor of current players, will be active on free-agency recruiting efforts, will perform a series of special appearances for the team and will work on business venture development for Fenway Sports Management and its partners.
"I'm happy to be able to help the Red Sox organization, which I love in any way I can," Ortiz said. "Whether that's offering advice to a young player, helping convince a free agent that there's no better city to play in than Boston or representing the club in the community and with its partners, it's great to be part of the Red Sox organization. It feels like I never left."
Ortiz, who played with Boston in 14 of his 20 seasons in major league baseball, retired as an active player after the 2016 season, in which he became an All-Star for the 10th time. His No. 34 jersey was retired by Boston on June 23, and he became the 11th Red Sox player to be so honored.
"Throughout more than a decade and a half, we learned the kind of man David is, both on and off the field," Red Sox owner John Henry said. "His ability and success on the diamond are only surpassed by his character, compassion and huge heart. I cannot think of a better representative for our organization. I'm happy that we can finally say in public what we have known for so long. David is family to us."
The Red Sox's announcement called the contract unprecedented and indicated it "should link him with the organization forever."
"Throughout all of 14 seasons, David was a fundamental part of the victories and achievements in this club. He gave himself to us in each scenario, even those which looked awful and hopeless; he never let us down. Just like David himself, this agreement is unique, and this is the very first time we have made a commitment of this stature and kind with any player, whether retired or active," Red Sox chairman Tom Werner said.
The powerful left-handed batter hit 483 of 541 career homers and knocked in 1,530 of his 1,768 lifetime RBIs with the Red Sox, helping the franchise win the World Series in 2004, 2007 and 2013. In the process, he became one of Boston's biggest icons.