The Boston Red Sox need a new identity. It's time to let go of your big brother's Red Sox, and that means letting the old—but still effective—David Ortiz walk. According to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com, the Red Sox and Ortiz are having problems agreeing on a two-year deal that would keep Ortiz in Beantown.
Despite the fact that Ortiz will turn 37 on November 18, he has hit over .300 and cranked out 29 and 23 home runs in the last two seasons, respectively.
So why should they let him go?
Because you can only go to the well so many times with an aging star. The Red Sox found gold with Ortiz in 2003. After the Minnesota Twins released him, Ortiz had a career year at the age of 27.
He hit .288 with 31 home runs and 101 RBI. All three were career highs for him at the time, and he finished fifth in the MVP balloting. He was an integral part of the team that advanced to the American League Championship series.
Over the next four seasons Ortiz would finish in the top five in MVP voting every year, average 44 homers, 135 RBI and help lead the team to two World Series titles.
It's understandable why the Red Sox would re-sign Ortiz in 2011. He had just hit .309 with 29 home runs and 96 RBI. It wasn't exactly the Papi of the mid-2000s, but he was still effective.
Now the team is faced with this situation yet again, but Ortiz is older of course, and coming off a season where he only played 90 games (81 as a DH).
How long can the team really expect Ortiz to hold up physically? When you have a player that is already playing primarily as a DH, but still battling injuries, it's a sign that things are headed downhill.
Most recently Ortiz was bothered by an Achilles problem, per the Boston Herald. For a big man in his late 30s, that isn't a good sign. Making smart signings is about being proactive and recognizing trends. All signs point to a fall-off in the very near future for Ortiz.
Giving him a two-year contract is bound to leave the Red Sox holding the bag for one or both years of the contract. This team has reaped all the benefits it can from Ortiz—and then some.
Continually extending aging fan favorites is sweet until the decline is so bad that their play causes more boos than appreciative cheers.
At some point the team has to move on. Maybe a free-agent option like Mike Napoli is a way to go, but either way it's time to say goodbye to Big Papi.
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