Scott Cordischi On Sports: What To Do With Big Papi?
Tuesday, October 02, 2012
The disaster that is the 2012 Boston Red Sox season is about to come to a close and with it, many questions heading into the offseason.
One question that we already know the answer to is: will Bobby Valentine be fired at season’s end? You’d get better odds on Bill Belichick revealing details on player injuries than you would for Valentine’s return in 2013.
More importantly for the Red Sox, this will be an interesting offseason when it comes to building or, as may be the case, rebuilding this 25-man roster.
For a team that has lost more than 90 games this year, where to begin rebuilding the roster is a great question.
Many observers subscribe to the theory that this franchise will not be a playoff contender again next season meaning they are at least a couple of years away from building it back up again. That would seem to lend itself to a possible youth movement within the organization as well as minimal free agent signings to keep the payroll down for 2013.
If that is indeed the approach, then what should the Red Sox do with free agent designated hitter David Ortiz?
Big Papi is finishing up a 1-year deal that paid him $14.57 million in 2012. That was the price Boston was apparently willing to pay instead of giving him the 2-year deal for $25 million he was seeking last offseason.
Now, Ortiz is again looking for a 2-year deal from the Red Sox so that he can finish his career in Boston. Will the Red Sox oblige?
There are strong arguments to be made for and against keeping Ortiz. Start with the fact that this is a player who WANTS to be here.
On the plus side, he is as popular as any player who has ever worn a Red Sox uniform, beloved by the fans and media alike. He also provides that middle of the order power presence the team has lacked since he went down to injury and the team traded Adrian Gonzalez away to Los Angeles.
For those expecting a decline in his production, that certainly was not the case prior to Ortiz getting hurt. In just 90 games he batted a robust .318 with 23 homeruns and 60 RBI. That put him on pace for 36 homeruns and more than 100 RBI.
Also significant is the fact that Ortiz is a slugger who has more than proven his worth in Boston. Unlike many of the high-priced free agents the organization tossed piles of money at, he has produced year after year in Boston justifying his contract. This should not be taken lightly by GM Ben Cherrington and Red Sox management because they have wasted too much money on guys who couldn’t perform here while letting some who did produce like Adrian Beltre walk away as free agents.
The argument against re-signing Ortiz has more to do with his age than anything else. He will turn 37 in November and you have to wonder if a precipitous decline in production is near?
Furthermore, he is coming off of an Achilles injury which sidelined him for almost half the season. Will injuries be an issue for him moving forward?
Finally, if the Red Sox are in the rebuilding mode, does it make a lot of sense to sink a lot of money into a veteran player like Ortiz who likely won’t be around by the time the organization is a playoff caliber one again?
I wouldn’t want to be the one making the decision as to whether or not to re-sign Ortiz, but given his popularity and production along with the void in the middle of Boston’s line-up, I would keep Big Papi for another year or two provided there is no better option available.
-It may not be Pats-Colts of last decade, but Brady vs. Manning Sunday at Gillette Stadium should still be exciting when New England hosts Denver.
-Just our luck! No NHL hockey when the Bruins are good again!
-Although captain Zdeno Chara is joining some of his teammates and many other NHL players by playing overseas during the NHL lockout. Chara will play in Prague in the KHL which isn’t far from his home in Slovakia.
-There will, however, be NBA basketball and I must admit that this year’s Boston Celtics team excites me once again.
-Kudos to Cox Communications for their service to the Rhode Island community by airing a live high school football game each Friday night in the fall on OSN called "Game Night."
-Seeing Wes Welker produce the last two weeks like he has for his entire career with the Patriots make me wonder what Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels were smoking by using Julian Edelman more in the first two games of the year?
-And to think that the Patriots offense put up 52 points in Buffalo without Aaron Hernandez who should be back sometime soon.
-I don’t know about you, but I found the Jets getting destroyed by the San Francisco 49ers last Sunday pretty amusing.
-Did you see where CBS cameras caught Tom Brady dropping an F-bomb on the bench Sunday in Buffalo? According to teammate Wes Welker, he and Deion Branch were ribbing Brady when his rushing touchdown was being reviewed telling him to get ready to go back in because his knee was down. Brady’s response was, “(expletive) you, (expletive).” You don’t have to be a genius to fill in those two blanks.
-You’re a true Patriots fan if you remember that before Sunday, Don Calhoun and Vagas Ferguson were the last two New England running backs to rush for over 100 yards in the same game back in 1980.
-Just when you thought that this might be the year that Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys were ready to break out, he throws 5 interceptions in a home loss to the Bears Monday night.
-Congratulations to Brown University defensive end Michael Yules for being named the Ivy League’s defensive player of the week. Yules, who played at Moses Brown, had 2 sacks and a tackle for a loss in Brown’s 37-10 win at Georgetown on Saturday. The Bears’ defense did not allow the Hoyas a single first down in the second half of that game.
-Speaking of Brown football, the Bears will travel to Meade Stadium in Kingston this Saturday for the annual Governor’s Cup football game against the University of Rhode Island. Although the Bears are (2-1) and the Rams are (0-4), you can throw the records out the window when these two teams meet. Kickoff is set for 1pm. The forecast for the game is calling for mostly sunny skies with highs in the mid 60’s which is perfect for football.
-Did you see where Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre was named the American League’s Player of the Month for September? He hit .337 with 11 homeruns and 19 RBI and 19 runs scored in September. Why can’t the Red Sox get players like that?...........doh!
-I’ll be rooting for Baltimore and Oakland in the AL playoffs and Washington and Cincinnati in the NL playoffs, in case you’re wondering.
-There were a lot of empty seats at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill last weekend when Boston College hosted the nationally ranked Clemson Tigers in ACC football action. Just another example of how New England, unfortunately, is not a college football hotbed.
-Getting McDonald’s All-Americans is nice, but it’s also very rare at a school like Providence College. Where PC and URI have to excel is in finding the under recruited diamonds in the rough who turn out to be great players like the Ryan Gomes and Cuttino Mobley’s of the world. That’s what will make or break each program.
-RG3 is sure fun to watch!
-The Ryder Cup was too, even if it did end in disappointment for the United States.
-Speaking of golf, I had the opportunity to play The Shelter HarborGolf Club in Westerly for the first time Monday and was extremely impressed with the entire facility. The clubhouse was beautiful, the practice facility was outstanding and all 18 holes were eye candy. What a great golfing experience!