Boston Red Sox: 5 Replacement Options for David Ortiz at Designated Hitter
I blatantly omitted Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols as I highly doubt either player wants to be a full time DH. Besides, with Adrian Gonzales in town, first base is spoken for.
So who remains as options for the Red Sox?
Unlike the winter of 2002/2003 when Theo Epstein basically flipped a coin between Brad Fulmer and David Ortiz, Boston has the wherewithal the go out and get whomever they wish with a much more scientific approach.
Here I've offered five names that seem to make sense (to me, at least). The first two are free agent signings, whereas the other three are trades.
Either way, Big Papi will leave massive shoes to fill both on the field and off. His eventual replacement will need to produce immediate results or risk the wrath of Red Sox Nation.
2011 Salary: $6 million
2011 Stats: .246/29/98
After putting up career numbers in his contract year, Josh Willingham is looking to cash in.
His batting average may scare off some clubs but he's a legit right handed power threat and actually had a BA/OBP split well below his career mark (.246/.332 vs .262/.361).
Furthermore, for those of you thinking he's peaked keep in mind that right-handed power hitters tend to see an increase in production at Fenway.
2011 Salary: $18.5 million
2011 Stats: .300/22/84
Turning 35 next April, Carlos Beltran is the resident gray beard on this list. And because of that he may find it difficult finding a contract longer than two years or more than $8 million per.
However, a switch-hitting outfielder who could platoon with Reddick in right and DH to keep his legs fresh could be an intriguing option for Boston.
This is assuming Beltran would even agree to DH as a condition of signing with the Red Sox. If it means a serious chance at finally winning a World Series, he may decide it's worth it.
Age: 35 (as of Wednesday, October 19th)
2011 Salary: $16 million
2011 Stats: .338/11/106
For this to happen there are a lot of factors that would need to fall in to place.
First, Michael Young's contract is somewhat complicated with his limited no-trade clause and 10-5 rights. Included in this is the list he submitted to the Rangers of the eight teams he OK'd as trade destinations.
Boston is not one of them.
Second, the outcome of the World Series may weigh heavily on his decision if presented with a trade.
Third, staff ace CJ Wilson is the crown jewel of the free agent pitchers. If he stays, regardless of the World Series result, Young may wish to stay as well.
Fourth, what will be the Rangers' demands? Is Boston willing to give up a player like Josh Reddick? They may.
Young is a career .304 hitter who still possesses a great infield glove (although not at the Gold Glove level he once had) which provides some great defensive flexibility late in games.
2011 Salary: $600,000
2011 Stats: .330/5/15 (in 47 games)
The rumor mill is churning with Joey Votto trade talk but unless Boston is willing to relinquish Anthony Renaudo, Josh Redick, Kolbrin Vitek and a legit current roster player, the Canadian slugger will not be plying his trade for the Red Sox.
However, Votto's understudy Yonder Alonso may prove to be a much cheaper option (Reddick to start plus one more player), and potentially just as productive.
The 24-year-old phenom possesses incredible power with a highly advanced batting eye that may remind some Boston fans of current first baseman Adrian Gonzales.
Alonso can also play a bit of outfield so it's possible for him to rotate with Gonzo at first and Darnell McDonald in the outfield to maintain roster flexibility.
This is just the type of move a new GM might want to make to announce his arrival.
2011 Salary: $12 million ($12M next year and $13.5M in 2013)
2011 Stats: .300/31/105
The Chicago White Sox are currently undergoing a mini-rebuild and Paul Konerko is the kind of aging veteran that may fetch a nice cache of young players.
Besides, Dayan Viciedo is the future at first base for the Pale Sox so moving Konerko is both realistic and pragmatic.
Boston provides Konerko with a significantly better shot at winning another World Series and he might find the prospect of hitting at Fenway 81 times a year (he's a righty) too enticing to refuse a deal to Beantown.