Red Sox move on in 2017 without the retired future Hall of Famer David Ortiz
David Ortiz will be remembered for more than just his nickname, Big Papi. He will be remembered as one of the most clutch if not the most clutch player Red Sox history and all of baseball for that matter. Big Papi also had one of the biggest and best personalities on and off the field. A die-hard champion with the strongest will to win. I got the chance to speak to him briefly and he treats all the fans whether you cheer for him or against him with nothing but class. He loves the game and was an amazing ambassador for the game of baseball.
After 2016, there were two big looming questions that upper management needed to address. First, what’s to make of the pitching situation regarding David Price and his down year? Secondly, who is planning on replacing David Ortiz both on and off the field? The pitching question was answered when Sox GM traded two of our biggest trade chips in Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech to pick up Chris Sale, the best arm available. Our bat issue however, is still not resolved.
David Ortiz hit .315 in 2016, his second best average since 2007 by .003. Ortiz added 38 home runs and 127 RBI’s, to the year, his best numbers since 2006 when he had an historic campaign slashing .287/54/137. He did this all while being 40 years old and retiring from baseball on his terms, when he was ready. David Ortiz left baseball with a bang. He was the best Designated Hitter to ever play the game and helped the franchise win its first World Series since 1918 and then two more World Series Championships after that. He was the New York Yankees’ kryptonite in 2004, not to mention the Tigers maker in the ALCS and Cardinal killer in the 2013 World Series going 11/16 hitting .688 with eight walks. He was the best.
Finding someone to replace those type of numbers are going to be difficult. They’re going to be almost impossible. I don’t think we can expect those numbers to be replicated by another player in 2017 but a few of the young Sox stars are looking to make a big impact on the team. Mookie Betts & Xander Bogaerts names come to mind. We know that Mookie Betts & Xander Bogaerts had huge seasons last year. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them tale off just a little bit with the loss of David Ortiz and his added protection.
What I think will happen this year is that pitchers are going to elect passing on Betts and go after Bogaerts because of his lack of consistency and power. He’s known more for his getting on base than power even though his numbers took a dip towards the end of last season. Still, I think that teams would agree that giving up a single or double as opposed to someone who can hit one or three out of the park in one day is the better option.
Bogaerts had a spectacular 26 game hitting streak earlier this season managing to hit .395 in May but managed to only hit .220 in both August and September. Betts on the other hand, had two three homerun games, one against Baltimore and the second against Arizona. The jury is still out on who’s going to be stepping in Big Papi’s shoes. All we can hope for right now is that Pablo Sandoval can deliver in 2017 after two crapshoot seasons to start off his tenure in Boston in addition to it’s new acquisition of Mitch Moreland and a still hungry Hanley Ramirez.