Ortiz to Dictate Red Sox Right-Field Options


Prior to the free agent market, Ben Cherington said finding a right handed batting outfielder was a high priority for him and the Red Sox for next season.  With the need for starting pitching obvious, it appears the right field priority may have changed a little bit.

Cherington recently stated that the options in right-field will depend on what happens with DH, David Ortiz.  If the Red Sox retain the services of Big Papi then Cherington may opt to stay with his house players, Josh Reddick and Ryan Kalish.  But if Ortiz signs with another team, it may force Cherington to go after a big bat to replace the pop of Big Papi’s. 

Carlos Beltran is the obvious big bat of choice there, but if Ortiz stays is leaving right-field for Reddick and Kalish to fight over the smart play? 

It’s been discussed whether or not Reddick or Kalish are ready to be the everday right-fielder.  Thanks to you for voting in our pole when we asked the question on who the Red Sox should sign to play right, the results were a bit surprising.  Michael Cuddyer led the charge with 41% of the votes, while leaving it for Reddick and Kalish was second with 35%.  Beltran was third and Sizemore fourth. 

Wouldn’t Michael Cuddyer be a welcomed addition to the Red Sox clubhouse even if Ortiz resigns?  He’s recently been compared to Trot Nixon and just recently Dan Duquette Jr. of NESN wrote about how the team was needing some character guys in the clubhouse

Johnny Damon‘s name continues to surface with tales of how his character combined with Cowboy, Kevin Millar was so instrumental in the 2004 version of the “idiots” winning it all. 

Let’s look at the contract aspect for a moment.  J.D. Drew‘s nauseating contract of $14 million per season is finally off the books.  So to is the expectation that you’ll have to spend $15 million a year to keep Papelbon, although it’ll cost at least $10 million per year to get either Ryan Madson or Heath Bell so we’ll call it a wash there.  But it’s Drew’s salary that frees up the ability for some creative contracts. 

If Ortiz resigns for the same amount of around $10 million per year, that leaves a nice chunk of change available to go after a free agent, namely Michael Cuddyer.  Cherington could probably get Cuddyer for around that $8-10 million per year mark, making him your guy for right-field.

The last time I checked Ben Cherington wasn’t brought in as GM to cut and slash the Red Sox payroll.  He’ll likely have to overpay for a reliever, if he chooses to go that route, but that shouldn’t stop him from resigning Papi and going after Cuddyer.

Cherington has admitted to being in constant dialogue with Ortiz and has made it public knowledge about his desire to keep the former home-run derby winner.  With limited options for Ortiz it may make it easier to resign him, but Cuddyer will attract a lot of interest.

The former Minnesota Twin has already been to Philadelphia where he met with team officials and toured the ballpark.  The Red Sox have also reportedly spoken with Cuddyer and his agent and it appears they will continue to do so moving forward.

Maybe it’s a man crush developing on my behalf, or that it drives me nuts to think that Ben Cherington would let a guy like Cuddyer slip away and sign elsewhere when his leadership and charisma are so badly needed in Boston.  Regardless of what it is, there is enough room for both him and Ortiz with the Red Sox, it just has to happen.

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