After an incredibly disappointing 2011 season in Boston, fan favorite David Ortiz, known simply as "Big Papi," will be a free agent.
The Red Sox were not just supposed to make the playoffs this season, they were supposed to go to the World Series for an epic showdown with Philadelphia, but alas, the Sox failed to punch their ticket to the show, and the Phillies were taken out in the first round by St. Louis.
One of the biggest "questions," if you can actually call it that, coming into the 2011 season was whether or not Ortiz could return to the form that once held him regarded as one of the game's most dangerous hitters.
Since his MVP-caliber season in 2007, Ortiz had seen a significant dip in batting average and power numbers. However, near the end of the 2010 season, Ortiz began to heat up and eventually finished the season with a .270 batting average, 32 home runs and 102 RBI.
It turns out that was no fluke, as Ortiz continued his hot-hitting in 2011, posting a .307 batting average with 29 home runs and 96 RBI, erasing any doubt from our minds of whether or not he had anything left in the tank.
Now Big Papi is a free agent, fresh off a disgraceful performance by his long-time club. So, the question is, will Ortiz want to return for a 10th season in Boston, or will he look to start fresh? Or, will his Red Sox decline to offer him a new contract and attempt to start a new era in Boston?
After all, there is no lack of free agent sluggers this offseason, as the likes of Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Lance Berkman and Aramis Ramirez are all set to hit the free agent market. The Red Sox might feel that the best way to wash away the bitter taste of their 2011 collapse is to bring in some new faces and part ways with the old.
I believe that Ortiz and the Red Sox will in fact go their separate ways this offseason, which then begs the question, what uniform will David Ortiz wear next season?
Could it be the infamous pinstripes?
That's right, the Yankees will likely watch their incumbent DH, fan favorite Jorge Posada, retire after 16 seasons in the Bronx, so might they look to fill that void with the very man who has tormented them for the past nine years? In my opinion, no. I do not see the Yankees going after the soon-to-be 36-year-old DH this offseason, and here's why.
First of all, the Yankees already have enough aging veteran players on their roster with Alex Rodriquez and Derek Jeter, both of whom will absolutely need to get some at-bats at the DH spot in 2012.
A-Rod in particular has shown that he is no longer an everyday position player, having suffered two injuries in 2011 causing him to miss significant time.
David Ortiz is a full-time DH who simply cannot play a position, so adding him would be a ridiculous idea from the start. But, let's pretend that A-Rod and Jeter could hypothetically play their positions full time. Would Ortiz have a place in the lineup then?
No, he wouldn't.
The DH spot in the batting order will be used primarily in 2012 by one of the brightest young prospects in the game today, Jesus Montero. The 21-year-old rookie is a catcher by trade, but next season the Yankees will likely have him split time behind the plate with 2011 All-Star Russell Martin.
I would expect Montero to catch maybe twice every turn of the rotation, serving as the DH on the days that Martin catches. So, unless the Yankees plan to sign Ortiz to DH around 100 games this season, making a move on him would be unwise.
Ortiz will likely join an AL team in need of a power bat in the middle of their lineup and, although not all that surprising, the "Bronx Bombers" are not in need of one.
When your two-through-seven spots in the lineup are held by Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano, A-Rod, Mark Teixeira, Nick Swisher and Montero, it's safe to say that driving in runs will not be an area of concern.
I would expect teams like the Rays, White Sox and Mariners to offer contracts to Big Papi. Perhaps their could be a homecoming in Minnesota for Ortiz with the very same Twins that he began his career with.
Wherever he goes, David Ortiz likely receive a nice paycheck, it just won't be on any of those famous pinstriped checks.