Gone will be Ortiz's steroidal baggage, sub-.225 batting average, and most importantly, one of the most feared left-handed hitters the American League has seen in the past seven years.
From 2003-08, Ortiz and Manny Ramirez
were the most devastating three-four combination in baseball. They were titans able to jump start Boston
's offense the second there was a lull (which were few and far between to begin with).
Before a sense of nostalgia sets in, the focus of this article is on the team's future and looking forward to a short-term solution.
That solution is Mike Lowell. With a bad hip injury that's sure to plague him the rest of his career, the former Gold Glove third baseman admitted today that being penciled in as a designated hitter is no different than a day off for his body.
The grind of another 162 games just isn't possible for Lowell unless he puts the defensive part of his game behind him.
The move would open up third base for Kevin Youkilis, who, as versatile as he is, would be making a permanent return to the position he came up in the organization playing.
Jason Varitek will either accept a role as Josh Beckett's personal catcher and a backup role behind Victor Martinez, or he'll take a multi-year contract from another organization that will allow him to end his career as an everyday player.
The trade deadline addition of Martinez makes the catcher/first base situation jumbled, but interesting.
The first base position is where things get exciting. Adrian Gonzalez, who is currently leading baseball in walks in a weak San Diego Padres
lineup, would be a wonderful addition. He's a Gold Glove-winning defender who is consistently getting better each and every season with his bat.
He finished third in home runs in the national league last season with 36 and, as of today, he has 32, which puts him in third again. Gonzalez's adjusted OPS is second to Albert Pujols, and he's doing so with the likes of Chase Headley and David Eckstein surrounding him in the order.
Gonzalez is likely to leave San Diego once his contract expires after next season, so a smart move would be for the Red Sox to either trade four or five prospects for him in the off-season and avoid a bidding war, or wait for him to hit the market and go next season with a question mark at first base.
Keep in mind that the New York Yankees
already have a first baseman locked up for something like the next 18 years at the reasonable price of $600 million dollars, so they most likely wouldn't be a factor.
Either way, Gonzalez's addition would make everyone's job easier, especially that of Terry Francona, who is currently stuck juggling a lineup that can't seem to find a consistent run-producing stride.
It would also allow Mike Lowell to become the team's permanent DH and solidify a lineup that's healthier, happier, and has fewer holes than today's struggling squad.