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David Ortiz: Why the Red Sox Should Give Him the Tim Wakefield Contract

David Ortiz
David OrtizJared Wickerham/Getty Images
Ron JuckettContributor IIIJuly 10, 2012

All is not well in Red Sox Nation, but you already knew that.

In a season that really seems to be another bridge year to a rosy tomorrow, the powers that be that run the team seem to be slow on the trigger in figuring out just where the Red Sox are.

Are they rebuilding and finally bringing up players from the farm?

If they are the quality of Will Middlebrooks, then by all means. If they know, deep down, that the best chance for a meaningful playoff run starts again in 2014, then unload the unhappy players and get what you can. Rebuild the team and their image back into that "dirt dog," "cowboy up" attitude the Sox had in 2003 until 2007 and go from there.

If the plan is win now, then they have a lot of work to do.

Even with a healthy offense, the starting pitching is without a true ace and the Sox would get crushed in the playoffs. While the bullpen has dramatically improved, the frontline starters remain inconsistent at best and uninterested at worst.

Whatever the plans of the front office are, David Ortiz needs to be in them as long as it mutually benefits both parties.

In a weekend series against the New York Yankees that did not show many bright spots, Ortiz was hitting to all parts of the field. Maybe the biggest surprise in Big Papi's reclamation is the fact he has gone from a slugger to a hitter. 

Since he lost weight and really studied under Dave Magadan, Boston's hitting coach, Ortiz has applied his skills to hitting the ball the other way and making it harder to apply the shift used so well by Joe Maddon and Tampa Bay in shutting him down.

He still hits for power and Ortiz has always possessed a very good eye at the plate. Do not let the fact he is only a designated hitter fool you, he plays the game with a great baseball intelligence.

Add the fact that he is one of the most beloved Red Sox players of all-time—on a team where there is not much to love at the moment—making sure that he is around the city and the grizzled veteran on the team going forward is a win-win for both sides provided he remains productive.

For the millions of bad contracts currently on the books, a $10 million per year team option for a guy who loves to play is not that horrible.

The front office seems to be a bit surprised that the fans are not as enthused for the Red Sox as they have been in the past. Besides the good public relations in keeping Ortiz at Fenway, the team benefits from having someone who has won on the roster to teach others.

That, in itself, may be priceless.

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