A daily accumulation of history and present as I follow the 2011 year through the baseball season and reflect on the glories and disappointments of the greatest game on Earth.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

David Big Papi Ortiz

Ortiz likes it when you call him Big Papi. We like it when you hit like Big Papi. At one time, George Steinbrenner was irate that the Yankees didn't get him. However, since April 17th, Ortiz has hits in 4 games.
Since the season opened, he's sat out 8 times. Mind you, he's the designated hitter. It's not like he's even having to run back to the first sack to catch a ball from deep in the 3rd base hole.
In 67 at bats, he has 3 homeruns and 6 RBIs. Just because he hit his first homerun sooner than May 20th, the date of the blessed event last year, isn't a sign of welcome relief.
The man is earning $13million. When it comes to sitting out 8 days of 1/2 work (offense not defense), I'd be willing to bat .149 and do just that as well. However, this isn't kicking a man when he's down, and frankly, since 2006 ended, he's been digressing into failure more and more. It's a story of the pain of propping a man up when he can't perform, and frankly, at this point, I can't believe anyone would even claim him off of waivers. Nobody wants that salary without a guarantee. I can't even picture the Yankees signing him just because it would rile up Boston fans. In that, there's no point poking a wounded animal with a stick.
But the real issue here is this: Boston's choice of CURRENTLY UNDERPERFORMING replacement players over the last few years based on who is in their lineup today.

John Lackey - $18.7million gets you 2 wins and a 4.50 ERA on the beginning of a long term lease.
JD Drew - $14million puts incentive under Drew's sorry behind to get hot and hit 5 homeruns with a .258 average. Prior to that, he was under .200 for April. Nobody in Boston other than Theo wanted him, and now, we're stuck with him. He didn't pan out for St. Louis, Atlanta, or Los Angeles. After the Phillies fans pelted him with D cell batteries in his Philadelphia debut, they realized that they got the good end of the deal in not getting him (even if Pat Burrell largely was a bust caught looking).
Mike Lowell - $12.5million to be platooned and rescued after being unable to be traded due to failing a physical offsets his .317 average with 1 homerun in 41 at bats.
Josh Beckett - $12.1million for 1 win and a 6.31 ERA. Sure, he helped win a title for Boston and Florida, but we need him performing for the extension he just signed.
Jon Papelbon - $9.35million for an ERA that's just under 2, but he also has 2 losses in 1 month. That's scary.
Adrian Beltre - $9million for him to bat .323, which is good, but the 1 homerun and 13 RBIs isn't, which once again proves 2004 was a contract year mirage.
Bill Hall - $8.5million to be unidentifiable even if he was dancing naked on your front porch.
Daisuke Matsuzaka - $8.33million to find out the gyro ball is a myth and his WHIP makes every inning an adventure.
Victor Martinez - $7.7million for .242 and 1 homerun and a complete inability to throw out runners; thus, it forces Jason Varitek back behind the plate all too often AND he can't throw out runners either.
Marco Scutaro - $5.5million for Theo to believe that defense prevents runs, but batting in 7 runs with 2 homeruns isn't getting the job done.

These aren't even the in expensive replacement parts. In short, this is a team in decline that has no chance to win for a few years. Maybe they can throw money at Pujols, but they need a lot of things.
One is to finally get rid of Wakefield, Varitek, and Big Papi. The past is the past. Let them be bench coaches. Winning requires nurturing young talent now.
Look at what happened to the Orioles in the wake of propping up Cal Ripken's streak - since 1997's division championship, they're a 4th or 5th place failure - and it's not like they have Tampa Bay to kick around since they're in a win or rebuild year. Toronto is rebuilding young and improved. The Yankees are the Yankees.
And the Red Sox... they're holding onto dreams long since dead.
Too bad that they should have learned that sometimes, you have to step on (Nomar's) toes to do well. Too bad they haven't learned it with Ortiz.

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