After every one of David Ortiz’s 44 hits this season, his final one as he intends to retire after the final out of the Red Sox 2016 season, there has been a tidal wave of social media sentiment that includes sappy song lyrics and GIFs begging the legendary DH to reconsider calling it quits for at least one more season.
Ortiz has been asked about it many times by many different members of the media, myself included. I had the opportunity to sit down with Big Papi in Fort Myers for Boston Herald Radio and asked him to fast-forward to the All Star Break, and if he was on pace to have another stellar season, would there be any thought that he would postpone his retirement.
“I don’t think so,” said Ortiz. “I think I’m doing really good right now with the decision that I decided to make and there’s a lot of things that I want to do and as long as I play baseball I’m not going to be able to do.”
Spending a full summer with his family is one of the things Ortiz mentioned regarding what he is looking forward to after baseball. All well and good.
That was on March 29.
Now, just a quarter of the way into the 2016 season, Ortiz is hitting .312 with 10 home runs and 34 RBIs. Not bad for a 40-year-old.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports interviewed Ortiz in Kansas City and posted a story asking a similar question, but now we have a slightly different response.
“Hopefully,” [Ortiz] said, “nobody comes to me and offers $25 million, either.”
So you’re telling me there’s a chance?
“I don’t even want to talk about it,” Ortiz said. “Like I said, I’m good with the decision that I made right now. But would you leave $25 million on the table? I don’t want nobody to offer me that.”
Did Ortiz just start the comeback bidding at $25 million?
Boy, I hope not.
Let’s get the logistics out of the way first. Outside of demanding a trade, the Red Sox are the only team Ortiz can play for in 2017 as the team holds a club option on him. What kind of dollars and cents he could see in ’17 all depends on what he does this season, but the Red Sox are the only team in a position to negotiate a new deal with him.
So no, the Yankees, Dodgers, or the Savannah Bananas (a real team. I own a t-shirt) cannot swoop in during the offseason and give Ortiz $25-30 million to come play on their teams.
It’s the Sox or a golf course for Ortiz, and if I’m him I’m hitting the links next year, not home runs.
If Ortiz comes back in 2017 and the show goes on, it has the potential to go sour. If it does, fans and maybe the Sox front office would turn on Ortiz.
Don’t believe me? It almost happened in 2009. Ortiz had a terrible start to the year hitting .230 in April, .143 in May and just one home run combined in those first two months. In 2010, the Fenway Faithful were ready to designate Jeremy Hermida as Papi’s replacement. People thought his tank was empty and there was even some chatter back then that Boston was going to DFA him.
Ortiz has plenty more fuel in that tank, but what happens if in 2017 he starts to look his age?
Do diehard Red Sox fans really want to endure what the Lakers just went through with Kobe Bryant or what the Yankees had to watch with Jeter and see a once bright star fade to almost nothing? That just seems sad.
It’s refreshing Ortiz isn’t taking that road. It’s also enjoyable to watch.
Ultimately, I do think he will retire to the dismay of many, but as P.T. Barnum, founder of the Barnum & Bailey Circus, once said:
“Always leave them wanting more.”