David Ortiz to Yankees?: Why Big Papi's a Bad Fit for Bronx Bombers
And if there's one team on which Ortiz's talents would be squandered, it's the Yankees.
See where I'm going with this?
After a long and successful tenure with the Boston Red Sox, Big Papi may be on the way out of Beantown as a free agent, with some "baseball insiders" suggesting he may cross over to the (other) Dark Side to suit up in pinstripes.
The only issues? He and the Yankees simply don't need each other. New York's roster is already loaded with old, overpaid stars of yesteryear who will need at-bats at the DH spot, where Ortiz, a career professional hitter and a mediocre fielder at best, does the bulk of his damage.
The assumption around Yankee Stadium is that Jorge Posada, the longtime catcher who spent most of the 2011 season "DHing," will retire, though that won't exactly open up more opportunities for someone like Big Papi to absorb. Aging Hall-of-Famers like Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter figure to get a reprieve from the field in that spot, as does first baseman Mark Teixeira.
Where should David Ortiz play?
That is, when rookie Jesus Montero isn't busy eating up opposing pitchers and the at-bats that come with the territory.
Therefore, even if the Yankees wanted to kick the rival Red Sox while they're down and pick up Ortiz, doing so wouldn't exactly be to the betterment of their chances of winning, not with a team that's already among the oldest and least effective defensively in all of baseball.
Nor would a move to New York necessarily benefit Big Papi. Aside from scaring off Wally, a cap swap would put Ortiz in a position where, as previously mentioned, he would be lucky to sniff 400 or 500 plate appearances, much less the 605 trips to the batter's box he garnered in Beantown this season. Instead, he'd be relegated to a sort of platoon duty, splitting the bulk of his time with Montero while ceding his spot to A-Rod, Jeter and Tex on occasion.
And it's not as though Big Papi can't handle a full workload, either. Ortiz had a terrific season at age 35, hitting .309 with 29 homers, 96 RBI and an OPS of .952. The man can still rake but probably doesn't have too many primo productive years left in the tank. As such, he'd be well served to take his act to a team on the cusp of big things, a team in need of a veteran presence and a powerful bat.
Like, say, Tampa Bay, thereby following in the footsteps of former teammates Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez. The Rays showed in September that they have the pieces to be a dangerous team in the AL East in 2012, sporting a combination of dominant pitching, strong defense and clutch hitting that even the mighty Yankees can't match.
Nick Laham/Getty Images
Wherever Ortiz goes, he isn't likely to find any monstrous, long-term deal. He'll get one year, maybe two if he's lucky, at around $5 million or 6 million per, though New York may be more inclined to offer him a deal in the $2 million range, as they did with Eric Chavez and Andruw Jones.
The key for Big Papi is to find the right fit on a good team with legitimate World Series aspirations. The Yankees don't have the at-bats, the need or really the pennant prospects that would make springing for Ortiz a sound, logical move.
Then again, when it comes to Yankees-Red Sox, you can pretty much throw logic and sound reasoning right out the window. GM Brian Cashman passed up an opportunity to sign Big Papi when he was released by the Minnesota Twins in 2002, which opened the door for the Dominican daddy to sign with Boston and become one of the Yanks' biggest tormentors over the last nine years.
But, if Cashman is smart, he'll resist the temptation to make up for lost time. If Ortiz is smart, he'll turn down the chance to redo history if Cashman can't help himself.
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