Signing David Ortiz: Right Move for Red Sox
As usual, Alex Speier has got it right – re-signing David Ortiz is the correct move.
Even if the team needs to sign him to a two-year deal, something they would not do last off-season.
All this depends, of course, on the team assessing that Ortiz is – or will be – fully recovered from the Achilles injury that plagued the last two months of the season. And that’s something the Red Sox should know – given he is under their care.
Why Sign Ortiz
- Performance. As Speier notes, Big Papi delivers offense. In the four seasons, Ortiz ranks #10 in OPS, #18 in OBP and #8 in SLG – among all hitters in major league baseball.
- Weak Free Agent Class. In addition to Ortiz, the top hitters approaching free agency this off-season: Josh Hamilton (will require big money, longer term contract); Nick Swisher (Sox should look at him – but he’s not the hitter Ortiz is); Cody Ross (another guy Boston should re-sign); and Angel Pagan (good hitter but not with the pop Papi delivers).
- Money to Spend. Boston GM Ben Cherington’s brilliant trade with the Dodgers cleared a lot of salary on the Red Sox payroll. So they have the salary room to sign Ortiz.
- Two Years is Not Long Term. Ortiz is old (37 in 2013) but a DH. Even if he is injured or slows down, it is not a long-term commitment by Boston.
Ortiz is Not Enough
Even if Boston re-signs Ortiz and Ross, the team still needs at least one more big bat. Another reason Boston should keep Ortiz.
Here are some possibilities for that hitter:
- Swisher. Could be a good add to play first base for Boston. Worth checking out but may be too pricey.
- Melky Cabrera. Hey, Ryan Braun showed no drop-voff after getting caught (but let go) on PEDs. Could fill the Carl Crawford void in left field.
- Shane Victorino. Had a so-so season but could contribute in left.
- Torii Hunter. Another aging veteran (like Ortiz) but had a good season at the plate.
- Mike Napoli. Could play first and also help out at catcher and DH.
A decent – but not stellar – group. Which shows why signing Ortiz makes sense.
So if Boston signs Ortiz and Ross, who would add as the next bat for the Red Sox?