David Ortiz came through again in Saturday’s 10-9 loss to the Blue Jays, swatting a go-ahead home run in the top of the ninth before Craig Kimbrel blew the save. With each game that goes by it’s becoming increasingly clear that the Red Sox can’t let Ortiz retire after this season.
Ortiz is not only the best hitter on the Red Sox, but also one of the best hitters in baseball. He currently leads the majors in doubles (23), RBI (46), slugging (.720), OPS (1.146) and total bases (121). He’s having arguably the best year of his Hall of Fame-caliber career, and he’s a huge reason why the Sox are in first place.
While Big Papi has said repeatedly that this season will be his last, the Red Sox can’t let Ortiz retire. He’s too important to the team. His bat, leadership skills, and postseason experience are irreplaceable. It’s noble that he wants to walk away on his own terms, but Red Sox management has to do everything in its power to stop him.
How can Boston change its designated hitter’s mind? By offering him more money than he can possibly refuse. Every man has his price, and the Red Sox have the resources to blow Ortiz away. They could double his current salary of $16 million, which would make him the MLB’s richest position player next year. Most of that would be funded by Clay Buchholz’s $13.5 million team option, which Boston seems unlikely to sign if his move to the bullpen becomes permanent.
Ortiz has played for a long time and made a lot of money, but offering him a nice payday should make him reconsider. He’s been paid below market value for most of his career, so it would mean a lot to him to have one of the three highest salaries in baseball. If Ortiz equates dollars with respect, he’d have a hard time saying no.