David Ortiz Free Agent News: 10 Reasons Red Sox Need to Let Him Go
With the St. Louis Cardinals recently winning the 2011 World Series, winter is here and that means free agency in baseball is quickly approaching.
While Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder are the cream of the crop of free agents, a Red Sox hero could be in a new home come spring training.
Over the past nine seasons, David Ortiz has solidified himself among Red Sox greats as he was given a plaque by the Boston Red Sox ownership that said "The greatest clutch-hitter in the history of the Boston Red Sox" and has also been instrumental in delivering two world championships to Boston.
Big Papi played well in 2011 and cut down on his strike outs. However, at 35 years old, he is not part of the future of the Red Sox organization.
The Sox could bring Ortiz back at the very tail-end of his career where he can retire in a city that respects him so much, but it is time for the Red Sox to let him go and here are 10 reasons why.
The Red Sox Would Get a First Round Pick Back
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The Official Elias Rankings came out and has David Ortiz placed fourth among free agents.
Ortiz may not be a viable option when it comes to wanting a first baseman that can field, but if his 2011 season was any indication, Big Papi still has all of the ability in the world to hit as he slugged 29 home runs, complimented with a .309 batting average.
If the Red Sox let Ortiz walk, odds are high that the Red Sox would receive a first-round pick and a compensation first-round pick in return because Ortiz is a Type-A Free Agent.
Pretty good return for letting an aging designated hitter go to another franchise.
He Isn't Worth the Money
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David Ortiz made $12.5 million in 2011. He returned pretty good numbers off the bat for what he was paid, but for the amount of money that is dealt to Ortiz, I'm sure the Red Sox would ideally like to see a guy that would be able to play in the field as well as bat three or four times per game.
It was reported by ESPN Boston in August that Ortiz felt hurt about not being approached by the Red Sox about a new deal.
He had a great 2011 season and is going to want to get paid. At 35 years old, is he worth what he will be asking for?
Get a Cheaper Type-B Player
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It was already established that David Ortiz could potentially want a bigger contract following his impressive 2010 and 2011 seasons.
It's hard to trust whether or not this would be a smart move by the Red Sox organization. A smarter move would be to let the 35-year-old Ortiz walk and shell out less money for a veteran slugger that you can use in the DH spot if that is what they are truly looking for.
A couple of Type-B free agents that would be cheaper than David Ortiz include: Vladimir Guerrero, Aramis Ramirez or Derrek Lee.
The Red Sox Are Moving a New Direction
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The Red Sox have yet to actually fire anyone, but it is clear they are moving in a new direction with recent personnel resigning and players' options being declined.
It was no secret that the Red Sox locker room was in turmoil in the latter part of 2011 and this was one of the causes of Terry Francona leaving his position as the team's manager.
Theo Epstein, who was one of the best young GM's that the game has ever seen, resigned from his position and was hired to become President of Baseball Operations for the Chicago Cubs.
One of the longest tenured Red Sox, Jason Varitek, had his option declined. Along the same line, Dan Wheeler had his option declined and are both classified as Type-B FAs.
The Sox have yet to make Jonathan Papelbon an offer and that doesn't look to be happening anytime soon.
This team will have a lot of talent remaining in 2012, but it is clear this team is moving in a new direction and the aging stars that helped make the Red Sox what they are today are not in the team's future plans.
Signing Ortiz to a bigger contract could hinder the growth of younger players and limit the Sox on the market.
Ortiz Will Likely Hit the Market
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All MLB teams have until 12:01 a.m. EST to negotiate with their upcoming free agents until they are free to the open market. Within the realm of David Ortiz, Red Sox GM Ben Cherington told MLB.com on Halloween that he finds it "unlikely that we would reach anything before Thursday."
It should also be noted that Cherington will keep the door open for dialogue with Ortiz's representatives, but it does not seem as if the Red Sox are lobbying too hard in keeping Ortiz in Boston.
It was just a few months ago when Big Papi felt 'ignored' by the Sox front office regarding his future and that seems to be taking hold into November.
The Sox Should Play Tit-for-Tat with the Blue Jays
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The Blue Jays were a hot topic in possibly picking up David Ortiz. They recently picked up the option of Edwin Encarnacion and see him as their DH. The better part? They were able to find their primary DH for $3.5 million; that's $9.5 million cheaper than what the Sox paid Ortiz in 2011.
The Jays were obviously in need of another bat in the middle of their lineup and went with the cheaper option. With Type-B free agents likely to be paid millions cheaper than Ortiz, why shouldn't the Sox follow suit with the Jays?
The Potential Pursuit of Carlos Beltran
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If the Red Sox are wanting to spend bigger money on a bat, why not just go after the switch-hitting Carlos Beltran?
Beltran's legs are not what they used to be, but he showed in 2011 that he still has the ability to play close to a full season and is not an achilles heel if you put him in Right Field.
Though Ortiz has played very well over the past two seasons, he will always be prone to the shift and going against lefties. Beltran can shield some of the blow by being able to bat from both sides of the plate and keep the defense from shifting.
Another Slow Start for Papi and the Red Sox Could Doom Their 2012 Season
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David Ortiz's ceiling is not very high at this point in his career. He is 35 years old and his severely-slow starts at the plate in 2009 and 2010 are very concerning given his age.
It seems the only thing that motivated Ortiz to start playing well in 2009 and 2010 were the rumors of him being sent down to the minors. The Red Sox cannot afford to start off slow in 2012 under new management.
What happens if the Red Sox start off slow in 2012?
This front office will be under a heavy amount of scrutiny for overpaying a 35-year-old has-been slugger. The mistakes that were corrected in the past may be too little too late this time around.
He Has Diminished the Leadership Role for Himself
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True, Jason Varitek has been the Red Sox captain for several years. However, as one of the longest tenured Red Sox, as well as one of the best players in the American League, there is a sense of entitlement that David Ortiz is a leader for the Red Sox.
However, following their September collapse, Ortiz told reporters:
"I'm nobody to determine who is doing the right thing and who doesn't. In the clubhouse, I'm just another player. I'm not a boss. I know that I'm one of the guys that has been here forever, but it's not like I'm anybody's babysitter or anything like that."
Those are words no leader should ever say. For a tenured Red Sox player who understands the art of getting to the playoffs and winning a world championship, he must feel a sense of entitlement to instill his experience into other players in the locker room.
It didn't happen.
NL Teams Might Line Up for Ortiz and Boston Shouldn't Match
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One NL East GM told the Boston Globe about Ortiz, “I think more and more teams will look into it. To have that kind of bat in the middle of an NL lineup at relatively short years and money for that type of production might be worth the deficiency you’d have at first base. You could always replace him in the late innings. I think he can handle the position in terms of balls hit at him. It’s just the range would be limited. Teams have those types of players even now.”
For NL teams looking to make the turn into one a contender now, they may feel enticed to use more money and less years on Ortiz to put themselves in position of a world championship.
What are the odds of this type of thing happening? Slim. Ortiz hasn't played more than 10 games at first base since 2004. Why would an NL team take a shot for him in free agency? There is no reason why they would. However, the potential is there.
If an NL team were there to sway Ortiz, Boston should not match and let Papi walk.