Is it a good thing for the Boston Red Sox that David Ortiz is retiring after the 2016 season?
The Red Sox slugger officially announced that he will be retiring and ending his successful career after the 2016 season. His postseason heroics, regular season milestones, and friendly personality toward Red Sox nation will be remembered forever. Will you be seeing a plaque with Big Papi’s name on it in Cooperstown in a couple years? My guess is yes.
Now we all know the good side of Big Papi. But there is also an ugly side. I know the fans love the guy, but you can also see him as a “diva.” When he gets into slumps, he won’t run out ground balls when his one job is to hit and he will also throw the occasional temper tantrum in the dug out.
Back in 2014, Ortiz said he wasn’t going to have a “retirement tour” like what former rivals, Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, did when they announced their retirement prior to their final season. Seems like Big Papi changed his mind and decided to be the center of attention…again.
So what if I said it was a good thing that Ortiz was gone after 2016? Think about it. It actually was perfect timing with Ortiz announcing his retirement so early because new President of Baseball Operations, Dave Dombrowski, knows that $16 million will be off the payroll indefinitely. With that being said, he will know how much money he can spend accordingly on a true ace for the rotation.
Also, if former shortstop, to third baseman (back to shortstop),to left fielder and now current first baseman, Hanley Ramirez doesn’t get dealt to another team and stays with the Sox until 2017, he will become the designated hitter for the future. I think we can all agree that the Red Sox chances to win any game increases dramatically when Hanley isn’t on the field attempting to play defense. Also, Hanley’s numbers as a DH are great because he just has to focus on hitting and not embarrassing himself in front of the Fenway Faithful. In just 11 games played where he was the DH in 2015, he hit .319 while belting 5 homers and collecting 11 RBI’s. We know Hanley is injury prone. We can’t control that. But if he just hits, then there is also a chance he will stay healthy more often and not run into the Green Monster and blow out his shoulder. Also, we can focus on signing an actual first baseman for 2017.
All of you know that one of the biggest pitchers on the market this winter is lefty flamethrower, David Price. If you don’t know, David Price and David Ortiz have a history where they aren’t too fond of each other. Price hit Ortiz on purpose a couple years ago and it just hasn’t been the best relationship since. But Price and Ortiz are veterans now and even if it’s Big Papi’s last season, he wants a championship. The Red Sox have been in the basement of the A.L. East now for the last 2 seasons and they are in a “win now” mentality. You can see that with the Craig Kimbrel signing, so I think that if Price and Ortiz can set aside their differences for one year, Price would be a great fit for Boston for multiple years to come. The Red Sox need an ace and with Price having a career ERA of 1.95 at Fenway Park, pay the man as much money as possible to get him to Boston.
David Ortiz will be remembered as legend in Red Sox Nation. I just think that he wanted it to be all about him. I like it when I root for a player that is confident, but there is a big difference between confident and cocky. That is exactly what Ortiz is. A cocky player that shouldn’t be surprised when he gets an occasional 95 mile per hour heater a little too inside for his liking.
When the 2016 season comes to an end, I wish nothing but the best for Ortiz and his life after baseball. You will be hearing his name again when he will be, in my mind, a first ballot Hall of Famer. But I am confident that the 2017 Boston Red Sox will be ten times better without Ortiz in their everyday lineup.
We’re just going to have to wait and see.