David Ortiz is a great player having a great season in 2012. Ortiz added to his career bonafides by clouting the 400th home run of his career last night, placing the hallowed mark of 500 career bombs within the realm of possibility.
Ortiz’s 2012 season, at the tender age of 36, ranks as “phenomenal”, according to Beyond the Box Score. He sports a sexy .302/.391/.607 line with 22 home runs. When you consider the average DH this season is putting up pedestrian numbers of the .256/.332/.434 ilk, you can see how rare David Ortiz really is: a designated hitter who can actually, you know, hit.
David Ortiz is slowly but surely making his way up the all-time DH leaderboard in addition to collecting World Series rings as a member of two championship Red Sox squads. He is a folk hero in Boston who accomplishes the rare feat of continuing to earn the adoration from his local fanbase.
The Red Sox are a big money team with a pragmatic approach: they handled David Ortiz with caution when he became a free agent this past offseason, nearly going all the way to arbitration before agreeing to meet in the middle on a one-year, $14.575 million dollar deal.
A one-year deal means David Ortiz is headed to free agency again this winter. Like last winter, he has a tremendous offensive season in his back pocket. This time, David Ortiz swears, things will be different.
Before banging a round-numbered home run into the sweet, sweet air of an Oakland afternoon, David Ortiz had some things to say about his impending free agency. Ortiz hinted at something not often discussed by active Major Leaguers, a phenomenon sure to contribute more animosity to any clubhouse than all the fried chicken and beer in the world. Namely: jealousy.
After declaring his only interest this offseason was getting an extra year at the same (somewhat reduced rate) only to be rebuffed, Ortiz noticed the team splashing the cash for other players on the market. Which hurts a man who feels his long-time contributions to the greater Red Sox good should be recognized.
From ESPN Boston:
If you go crazy and give contracts to whoever comes along despite not knowing how they’re going to do, then you don’t give me my due consideration, even though I do my thing every year, (expletive) that,” Ortiz said. “I’m going to be open to anything. My mentality is not going to be, ‘I like it here.’ It’s going to be, ‘Bring it to the table, and we’ll see what happens.’
The Red Sox aren’t wrong in their reticence to offer a player in his late thirties a multi-year contract, nor are they wrong in refusing to pay a player for his past performance. If Ortiz really feels he took a slight haircut to stay with Boston, he owes it to himself to try and maximize his earnings in what will likely be the last big money contract of his career.
David Ortiz likely means more to the Red Sox than just about any other team. As expressed above, he is more valuable than nearly every other DH-only in baseball, not to mention the feel-good aspect of keeping him out of a Tampa Bay Rays or Blue Jays uniform. That said, if Ortiz walks for more money, the Red Sox have more than their share of in-house options ready to gobble up some DH at bats.
Frankly, David Ortiz stays a Red Sox until his playing days are done in a just world. Without business considerations or a front office making tough decisions in service of an annual title pursuit, it is a no-brainer. Whether or not these two sides can put all that stuff aside to do what is “right” is a very, very interesting question for this winter.
AND THE REST
After turning down a potential trade to the Dodgers, Carlos Lee agrees to a move to the Marlins. Aging player joins also-ran in exchange for busted prospect and potential reliever. You can see why this wasn’t the lead item this morning. [MLBTR]
Zack Greinke prevents home runs like an all-star, even if he isn’t on the team. [Baseball Analytics]
Like Chris Sale before him, Yu Darvish will not make his final start before the All Star break. These skinny dudes are brittle and must be handled with the utmost care. (Martin Perez makes his
first second start in Darvish’s place.) [Rangers.com]
Taking the long view as the Blue Jays hit the season’s midpoint. [DJF]
Andre Ethier is headed to the DL. That oughta help the Dodgers robust offense! [ ESPN Sweetspot]
Being in first place on the Fourth of July – does it predict a damn thing? Like being in the relegation zone on Boxing Day, it is all about what you can convince yourself. [SI's Hit and Run Moustache Patrol]
The Getting Blanked Show was good yesterday because Ben from MLBTR made it that way. Enjoy it again for the first time!
Stephen Strasburg’s superlative start to his career evokes the “Tom Seaver Rule” [The Book]
What do the contenders of the AL East need to gear up for their run to the post season? Weird, there are only four teams on this list… [Baseball Prospectus]
Playing the Player A/Player B game with the Yankees DHs (I think) [RLYW]
The city of San Diego found out Giancarlo Stanton will be competing in the Home Run Derby and, um, set all their Fourth of July fireworks off at once. It’s understandable, happens to everyone once or twice.