Valentine’s Trip Enough for Red Sox to Bring Back David Ortiz?


When David Ortiz was in the midst of planning his charity golf tournament to help raise money for sick kids in two countries, he would have never envisioned a last minute addition to the guest list in the Dominican Republic; one Bobby Valentine.

Mere hours after he was introduced as the new manager of the Red Sox, Bobby V hopped on a plane and departed for the sunny tropics, known as Ortiz’s homeland.  His mission was simple; meet with the free-agent and let him know he’s wanted in Boston.  But will that be enough to convince the left-handed DH to return to the city that adores him?

This much we do knonw.  Ortiz is seeking a multi-year deal, preferably a three-year deal.  Ortiz said he wants security and this type of deal would give it to him.

The Red Sox offered him arbitration and he has until December 7th to either accept it or deny it.  Should he accept it, the deal would likely be a raise from his $12.5 million he made last season.  The problem lies in the fact that it’s only for one year.

It doesn’t help the matter that other teams are showing sincere interest in Big Papi including division rivals, the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays.  Now we get wind that during the few days leading up to his charity event, current New York Yankee, Robinson Cano said he would welcome Ortiz with open arms to the Evil Empire (Cano never used the title Evil Empire, that was my doing, only because the shoe fits).

Then we hear that former Red Sox player and public enemy number one, Johnny Damon is telling Ortiz he should consider signing with New York.  What just a minute.  Damon, how dare you.  This really ruffled my feathers that Damon would do this, for a number of reasons.

First, Johnny Damon was absolutely adored by Red Sox Nation when he helped lead the group of idiots in 2004.  He was a season or two away from Red Sox immortality in my opinion.  Then he flys the coop and signs on with the hated Yankees.  Talk about a spit in the face.  Now before you start sticking up for Damon I know there is more to it and the whole free agency thing and was he ever offered a contract by the Red Sox, blah blah blah.  Regardless, he made the decision to go play with the team that Red Sox fans despise.  That would be like Tom Brady going to play for Rex Ryan and the New York Jets.

Next, Damon has the opportunity to return to the city where he made so many memories but trumps a trade offer that would’ve seen the Detroit Tigers send him back to Boston.  Strike two Mr. Damon.  He claims family reasons and that’s fine, maybe it wasn’t a good time for Damon.

Him signing with Tampa Bay didn’t bother me, but it was sure nice to hear the boos ring throughout Fenway Park when he returned their last spring.

But for Damon to stick his nose in Red Sox business and tell Big Papi to go play in New York, that is strike three.  Stay the hell out of the Red Sox business you arrogant, self loathing wiener.  Worry about your own situation and the fact that you’re a free agent and don’t have a home yet.  Don’t go trying to convince Big Papi he should go play for the Yankees because it’s all high and mighty over there.  So what, they have pinstriped jerseys and you can’t have long hair or any facial hair other than a neatly trimmed mustache.  Sounds more like a cult to me.  (Check out my colleague Rick Meegan’s piece on how thing aren’t necessarily rosy in New York.)  How quickly you forget about the club that gave you so much. I’m finished with you Damon.  I was willing to give you one more chance, but after hearing this, forget it.  I hope the Houston Astros are the only team that offers you a contract, but then again, you don’t really fit their plans either.  I’d like to see you spend the rest of your playing days sitting on the bench, drinking gatorade  and wondering why you’re such a pompous ass.

Back to the matter at hand.

Ortiz has said that he did appreciate Valentine flying down to his home country and that he was impressed by the new skipper’s actions.

“I’m impressed. That’s good stuff” Ortiz said. – courtesy of the Boston Globe.

While the Valentine trip was all lovey dovey, let’s be honest, in order for Ortiz to return to Boston it’s going to come down to money.

Ortiz has said a thousand times that he wants to return to Boston and he recently compared his situation to a couple of other DH’s around the league, Victor Martinez of the Detroit Tigers and Adam Dunn of the Chicago White Sox.

When you look at the numbers, Ortiz was more productive than both V-Mart and Dunn giving him some quality bargaining power.  Last season Big Papi hit .309 with 29 homers and 96 RBI.  He had an offensive line of .398, .554 and .953.  He struck out 83 times, his lowest total in three seasons.

Martinez hit .330 on the season with 103 RBI but belted just 12 home runs. His offensive line numbers are .380, .470 and .850.  He also only struck out 51 times.

Meanwhile Dunn, well to put it mildly, he sucked for the White Sox.  In 122 games he hit an atrocious .159 with 11 homers and 42 RBI.  His line of  2.92, 2.77 and .569 are all well below his career averages.

It’s a case like Dunns that may make teams hesitate before giving Ortiz the three-year deal.  If history repeats itself as in the case with Dunn, then Ortiz could end being a total bust.  Now Ortiz is a far more consistent hitter than Dunn and he doesn’t strike out nearly as much as the former Cincinnati Red.

But the biggest concern against Ortiz is his age.  Big Papi just turned 36 and a three-year deal would put him at 38 when his contract is up.  Martinez and Dunn are both 32, a big difference of four years.  But you could look at it the other way.  Ortiz is arguably outpeforming both players despite being four years older.

While he doesn’t have the daily grind of playing defense to wear down his body, you have to wonder how many more productive years he has left.  Throw in the fact that this Red Sox team can’t afford to lose anymore credibility with their fan base, giving Ortiz what he wants may be the only option.

I’ve said this all along.  Give Ortiz a two-year deal with a club option for the third year.  It may be enough to convince the All-Star to return to his second home of Boston.

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