This past offseason, there was much talk regarding David Ortiz and his desire for a contract extension. Some believed that the aging slugger was not worth the money, especially because he does not play in the field. However, Ortiz has proved that he isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. On a Red Sox team that has lacked power, Ortiz’s 11 home runs are six more than Mike Napoli’s five dingers, and eight more than A.J. Pierzynski and Johnny Gomes, who are tied for third on the team with three. Coming off a record setting World Series performance last year, it would have been surprising if Big Papi’s abilities went on a sharp decline. He has had a couple of down years, most notably in 2009, when he posted a line of .238/.332/.462. He has also had a few cold starts to the season, but that is not the case this year.
Ortiz has had a few ups and downs this year, but has kept the middle of the order productive when other players have fallen into slumps. While it may not have meant much, Ortiz recorded two (yes, two) hits against Yu Darvish, who came close to no-hitting the Sox in Texas. The Red Sox have not been no-hit since 1993 by Seattle’s Chris Bosio and at this point of the season, a no-hitter would not have helped the team’s confidence one bit.
The following series, Ortiz lit up his former Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Ortiz went 8-14 with four home runs and six runs batted in, despite the Sox dropping two of three. His home run outburst has put him right up there with the American League leaders, tied for fourth with Jose Bautista and Minnesota’s Brian Dozier.
With Ortiz currently holding the Red Sox triple crown, it would be hard to imagine how the team would be doing if he wasn’t performing. With John Farrell tinkering with the lineup on a regular basis, the offense has lacked consistency and has yet to find a groove. This can probably explain why the Red Sox are one of two teams without a three game winning streak this season, along with the lowly Houston Astros.
The Red Sox made a good decision by extending Ortiz’s contract through the 2015 season. Ortiz has perennially been among the Red Sox offensive leaders for the past decade and despite turning 38 this past offseason, it appears that he will be providing much needed pop to the Sox lineup for the foreseeable future.