The name Big Papi is one that is known not only in the obvious places like Boston, Charlestown and Revere, but in many other cities across the country. He has haunted many opposing teams’ dreams in the last nine years he has sported the haloed Red Sox uniform with his ferocious swing and has produced many smiles in the seats of Fenway Park with his accolades. The biggest concern that should be on Sox Fans minds will be whether or not they will be able to see that same vicious swing that helped bring two World Series titles in the city of Boston come next April.
Ortiz suffered an Achilles injury on July 16th causing him to miss 35 games, but did make a return on August 24th against Kansas City where he went 2-4 with 2 RBI. After the game he had expressed concern about his Achilles not feeling 100 percent leading him back on the shelf where he has yet to return from since. The prescience of the eight-time All-star is one that has been sorely missed as the offense has been in a power outage since his departure seeing their offensive numbers drop significantly as their team batting average is four points lower, (.266-.262) slugging percentage has dipped from .427 to .401 and their scoring a half run less a game (4.8-4.3.) The 36 year old native of the Dominican Republic was on pace to have yet another 30hr 100RBI season as he had 23 HR’s, 60 RBI and a surprisingly stellar .318 average which would have been his second highest BA for his career next to the .335 average he sported as a world series champion on the 2007 squad. As good as Cody Ross has been this year, he or James Loney or any of the other characters that have resided in the familiar cleanup spot that Ortiz has resided in for almost a decade pale in comparison. Ortiz has made it abundantly clear to management over the last couple years that he would like to retire in this city rather than latch on with some other random team and city that he has no connection with like the one he has in the city of Boston. His age, (36) lack of positional flexibility, large salary (has been the highest paid DH for the last 6 straight years averaging $13.25million per season) and now injury concerns stand as obstacles that both management and Ortiz will have to iron out in order to compromise to keep him in a Red Sox uniform. There is no doubt that he has been one of the league’s most feared hitters for a long time and if it was not for his immensely powerful bat in the lefty batter’s box the famous “Curse of the Bambino” very may well still be haunting Red Sox fans to this day, but paying this guy almost double what most DH’s are paid in the league is something that has boggled my mind. Your Victor Martinez’s, and Michael Young’s of the league may be listed as DH’s on the lineup card, but they can offer what Ortiz can’t; the ability to play the field. For this reason alone it doesn’t seem logical to pay a guy like a positional player when he can’t and doesn’t play the field. With all this being said, after trading away Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, the potential lineup for 2013 lacks power and fearsome bats that will give pitching staffs headaches on a nightly basis. Resigning David Ortiz could be a step in the right direction in assessing both those problems and needs to be atop the brain trust to-do list when they attempt to repair this joke of a team in the offseason. I will admit that after last year’s Real world like drama that went along with negotiating the right deal for Ortiz I was all for sending this guy packing at the end of the season. However, the human opinion is one that changes with much frequency especially during a 162 game season. Although I still believe his better years are behind him and his recent injuries are an extreme cause for concern, resigning Ortiz seems to have changed from being a remote possibility to a dire need over the last 6 months. He showed that he can still produce at a high level when he was healthy this season and finding a replacement that could produce at or better than his stat line at the DH position will be hard to find on the free agent and trade markets. This recent injury might just be the a blessing in disguise if your John Henry and company and a dagger if your Fernando Cuza, Ortiz’s agent. It’s believed that he is seeking a 2 yr, $30 million dollar deal( The reason why you can forget seeing him play for the rest of 2012) which seems like a distant possibility for him to find from almost any major league team including Boston. The best compromise in my opinion would be a two year deal worth around 25 million dollars because that would still give him the years he wants as well as a more than generous price when taking in the fact that he will be nearing 40 at the end of the deal making 12.5 million dollars. Seeing the number 34 with Ortiz on the back of the uniform in any other hometown colors but Red and White now seems like something that would be a mistake that ownership can’t afford to make.
About the Author
Written by Jefferson Mills
I am a 22 year old aspiring sports journalist. I graduated from Hofstra University with a BA in Broadcast Journalism and was born and raised in Norwood, MA, twenty minutes south of the great city of Boston. Sports consume my life in every which way as I have been an athlete since the age of 8 playing organized football, baseball and basketball throughout high school and have been an avid die-hard Patriots, Bruins, Red Sox and Celtics fan. I Interned for the "Mecca of Sports Radio" WFAN 660 AM while in college and also interned for News 12 Long Island. Working as a member of the hardest working sports department in one of the most talented college radio stations 88.7 FM WRHU is the one thing I am most proud of when it comes to my work in the field. My passion and work ethic define who I am as a writer, person and friend which is why I hope to become successful in the sports Broadcasting spectrum in years to come.