Bloody Sox

Red Sox Rants — and other random opinions about sports

“Papi stinks!”

I didn’t say that. David Ortiz did. According to

“I’m sorry, guys,” Oritz said. “I don’t feel like talking right now. Just put down, ‘Papi stinks.’ “

This is one of the saddest comments I’ve seen written about Boston sports. David Ortiz has been so huge since he came to Boston in 2003. In the six plus seasons he has been the Red Sox designated hitter, Ortiz has been a superman, the hero of countless late inning rallies. He was always the anti-Manny.

If you had had to put money on which player would have the lower batting average by mid-May, David Ortiz or Jason Varitek, my guess is that you would have chosen Varitek. But now Ortiz has taken over the position of most empty spot in the batting order. This is a problem for a designated hitter and the man batting third in the lineup.

The big question is, what the heck is the problem? Is it a mechanical problem, a mental problem or is Big Papi just spent? In other words, can this be fixed? Big batters often fade out quickly (see Mo Vaughn). Is that the case with Big Papi? If so, how do Red Sox management react? They owe Ortiz around $25 million for the remainder of this year and next.  But they can’t leave him in the number three slot at this rate. And what’s the use of a $25 million number seven hitter? (Although they Sox are paying Julio Lugo $9 million per year to bat ninth!)

Unless Ortiz can turn it around and regain his old power, it seems to me David’s days with the Sox are numbered. The Sox would be better off with a young batter at DH, someone with the versatility to play the field and give manager Terry Francona more substitution options.  At some point GM Theo Epstein will acknowledge this. Then I hope everyone manages the transition gracefully.

Because no matter how poorly he is playing now, Ortiz will always be one of the great Red Sox players of all time. He deserves the respect of the fans and a dignified exit from this team.


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