As an ongoing and indepth look as to potential moves that the Red Sox could or even need to make this offseason, we turn our attention to none other than Big Papi, David Ortiz.
The former home run derby champion is set to become a free agent this offseason and after spending the past nine years in Boston he has become a fixture to the city and his team.
Just over a year ago there was much speculation as to whether or not Ortiz would regain his once dominating form that would strike fear into opposing pitchers by him simply walking to the plate. A frustrating start to the 2010 season had many critics writing off Ortiz, saying he was washed up. But two months into the season he turned it around and still belted 32 home runs and drove in 102 RBI.
Another productive year in 2011 saw Big Papi hit 29 long balls and collect 96 RBI and suddenly his services are once again to be deemed valuable.
This past season saw Ortiz have his best year in terms of batting average, settling out at .309 for the season. While he didn’t smack a boatload of home runs, he still hit 29 long balls. In his career he’s only hit over 40 home runs in a season only three times, with 2006 being his highest total at 54.
With a steady diet of homers from Big Papi, his run production remained consistent as he was close to the century mark again with 96 RBI. He crossed the plate 84 times which is around his career average. Many might argue and say that his RBIs are way down than that of a few years ago. From 2003 to 2007 he never drove in less than 101 runs with the highest year being 2005 with 148.
But Ortiz is six years older and at 36 he isn’t going to drive in 120 runs anymore. He’s still good for 100 RBI and 30 homers and throw in the fact that he’s no longer batting third or cleanup in the lineup he’s now dealing with less quality pitches to hit when he may not have Jacoby Ellsbury or Dustin Pedroia on base. Is there anything wrong with 100 RBI and 30 home runs? That’s pretty darn good if you ask me.
There will be changes to this club, there is no disputing that. As I wrote yesterday, Kevin Youkilis should be traded this offseason which would leave a huge hole in the lineup without considerable power. Ortiz would fill part of the power gap and he’s proven that he can still hit the long ball and be productive at the plate.
Big Papi is most certainly looking for a multi-year deal, probably a two year guarantee with the third being an option. Last year he made $10 million and it was considered to be quite lucrative for a DH. Would a two year deal worth $14 million with a club option for the third year be reasonable enough for Ortiz?
Recently Ortiz shot his mouth off and said that he would think about playing for the Yankees, and while it’s not a statement saying he would play for the hated rivals, he hinted that things appear to be quite rosey over in the Bronx. These comments set off all kinds of negative publicity for Big Papi and when he said he didn’t know if he wanted to be a part of the drama next season in Boston, you have to wonder if he’s tired of playing for the Red Sox.
But what are his options? Would the Yankees even explore the idea of signing Ortiz? Probably, if nothing else just to drive the price up for the Red Sox. But they don’t really need Ortiz. They’ve got enough old veterans who are ready to step into the DH role, including Alex Rodriguez in a year or two. The most recent has been young prospect Jesus Montero. Much speculation is surrounding him as to whether he can handle the everyday catching duties with what appears to be less than adequate skills with the glove. Some are saying Montero could be the fulltime DH within a few years. So I don’t know where Big Papi would fit in with the Yankees.
Consider he can’t play first base a whole lot during the year, his services are deemed useless in the National League so now he’s down to twelve other American League teams. Toronto and Baltimore won’t sign him, not at his age for his price tag. Tampa Bay could take a run at him if he comes cheap enough. It isn’t likely he’ll return to the Twins, not with Justin Morneau battling injuries and most likely heading towards a DH role. Especially with Joe Mauer rumored to be moving to first base in the not to distant future. Perhaps a team like the Angels would take a chance on Ortiz and they could probably pay him the expected salary, but suddenly the teams are limited.
A once expected leader in the clubhouse, Ortiz appeared to not have any clought with some of the eradic idiots that were out of line with their actions this season. But Ortiz does have a spot with this team. He’s a great DH for the Red Sox and with a new manager to come in and settle things down, who’s to say there would be the drama. Sure there will be the normal pressure and expectations to win, but that’s nothing new.
Ortiz needs to realize where his best chances of winning are and that’s right here in Boston. Feel free to shop around Big Papi, but in the end, Boston is not only where your heart is, it’s where you belong.
Whoever the new GM turns out to be, most like Cherington, resigning David Ortiz has to be amongst the top five on his to do list. At least it should be.
Topics: AL East, AL Wild Card, Alex Rodriguez, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Fenway Park, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jesus Montero, Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Kevin Youkilis, LA Angels, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers