Red Sox DH Options Should David Ortiz Leave
Let’s start with – the optimal situation for the Red Sox is David Ortiz agrees to a 2 year deal – maybe with some type of option – at money comparable to what he made in 2011.
Last season was a turnaround season offensively for Big Papi. And Ortiz means so much more to Boston than just his on-field production.
After a season that exposed too many Boston players from being self-centered to quitters – the Red Sox need some stand-up guys who know what a team is all about. And David Ortiz is one of those guys.
But it only takes one team to make a 3 year deal at big money – and then have Ortiz decide the grass is truly greener somewhere else, after last season’s turmoil. And Ortiz could be gone.
So as Boston just learned with Jonathan Papelbon, you need a Plan B.
Here are some DH options should Ortiz leave.
Carlos Beltran. The best fit. A switch-hitter – so he brings a little more balance to a lefty heavy line-up. Can play RF – in case Josh Reddick or Ryan Kalish don’t emerge or need platoon partners. Two questions: Would Beltran take a 2 year deal? And if no, why would the Red Sox give Beltran 3 years and not Ortiz – since there is only 1 year age difference and Papi is a Boston institution (not to mention, put up better numbers in 2011)?
Kevin Youkilis. Youk was beat up last year – making 2 injury filled seasons in row. Shift him over to DH. Grab a player like Martin Prado for 3B – until Will Middlebrooks is ready. Prado is moving up the salary scale and the press rumors say Atlanta may move him.
Ryan Lavarnway. This move would take a leap of faith – and/or a great evaluation by the Red Sox talent honchos. Can Lavarnway consistently hit MLB pitching – at the high level demanded for the Boston DH position? This would also require some roster finagling – with Boston picking up a third catcher for the roster. Maybe someone like Ryan Doumit who has some versatility in the field.
Other Free Agent Options. Guys like Mike Cuddyer and Josh Willingham can fill the position – but not Ortiz’ production numbers. However, on the big plus side, they can also play the field. Don’t like either player as a full-time Boston DH. And I don’t see Grady Sizemore as the answer. How can you count on Sizemore given his injury history? A long shot to watch: ex-Red Sox draftee Matt Murton who has hit it big time in Japan.
Trade Options. Carlos Quentin is perhaps the best trade option – but his production would be a drop-off from Ortiz. Press rumors say Chicago may be making him available. Other names to watch:
- Gaby Sanchez. If the Marlins do get free agent prize Albert Pujols.
- Brandon Belt. Prince Fielder is a good fit for the Giants. If it happens, San Francisco may want a better defensive OF than what Belt can deliver (like Kalish or Reddick).
- Yonder Alonso. His natural position is 1B – where he is blocked by Joey Votto. Leftfield is an option – but like with Belt, Cincinnati may want a better defensive option.