Red Sox DH David Ortiz will retire after 2016 season
All good things must eventually come to an end. For Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, the end is near.
Sources have revealed to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal that Ortiz intends to retire after the 2016 season. His contract includes a $10 million team option for 2017, which may increase in value depending on how many plate appearances he makes next season, but it seems Ortiz may be willing to walk away regardless of if he remains in the lineup long enough for that option to vest.
The news of Ortiz’s impending retirement comes one day before his 40th birthday, which he will celebrate on November 18. Even at age 39, Big Papi showed no signs of slowing down, slashing .273/.360/.553 while leading the team with 37 home runs and 108 RBI. He finished 5th in the American League in RBI, 7th in OPS and 9th in home runs.
Ortiz has hinted several times over the past year that his career was winding to a close, but he never seemed interested in the type of retirement tour that the New York Yankees paraded Derek Jeter around on in his final season. Even if he does plan on retiring, it’s a bit surprising that he would reveal those intentions already. His agent and sponsors may push for him to receive that type of attention, while the Red Sox ownership group will gladly capitalize on any financial gain they can milk out of Ortiz’s final run.
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One advantage to letting the Red Sox know of his intentions now is that it may impact the way they approach free agency. Perhaps they will be more comfortable spending money this winter knowing that Ortiz’s salary will be coming off the books after next season. Boston also may now feel less pressure to try to trade Hanley Ramirez this offseason, knowing that they only need to make this first base experiment work for one year before being able to slide him into Ortiz’s vacated DH spot.
Ortiz celebrated a significant milestone in 2015, blasting his 500th career home run. If he manages another season that comes even close to what he produced this year, he should easily pass Red Sox legend Ted Williams on the all-time list and settle somewhere inside the top-20 in career homers.
The Red Sox wrap up the 2016 at home, which should allow Ortiz to bid his final farewell in front of the Fenway Faithful. That final series against the Toronto Blue Jays pits Ortiz up against a team that he has smashed 59 career home runs against, most among any opponent. You would think that would mean that Ortiz will end his career in style with one last homer on his way out.
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Scratch that. If the Red Sox get their way then that series against the Blue Jays won’t be his last. Ideally his last home run will come in the final game of the World Series, as Ortiz helps deliver the fourth championship of his iconic career and cements his Hall of Fame legacy.