For the Toronto Blue Jays, the time is now (at least according to team president Paul Beeston). For David Ortiz, his time appears to have past with the Boston Red Sox, who continue pop up in MLB Rumors and show signs that they are ready to move forward with a rebuilding process.
Given the nature of the circumstances for both teams, the Blue Jays could be an appealing destination for the aging yet still dominant slugger.
Ortiz is 36 years old. By the beginning of next year, he will be 37. In years past, this may have been a deterrent for the Blue Jays, who would likely not be fond of the possibility of giving up a first-round draft pick for someone who will not factor into their long-term plans.
However, if the Jays season continues the way that it has, they could find themselves in a position where their draft pick is protected, even if Boston offers their veteran slugger the approximate 1-year, $14 million contract that will garner Ortiz Type A free agent status.
Of course, the top 10 picks of the MLB Draft are protected. With the Blue Jays falling further and further down the standings with each passing day, they find themselves with a good shot at finishing with one of the ten worst records in baseball. Currently, the Jays are tied with the Kansas City Royals for the seventh worst record in baseball.
It is clear that, from the Blue Jays‘ end, signing David Ortiz makes plenty of sense. They feel as though they are ready to contend with a healthy roster, and they will likely be able to sign Ortiz without surrendering a draft pick.
But why would Ortiz have any interest in signing with the Blue Jays?
Well, first of all, the Jays are not as bad as their record might indicate. They have suffered an exorbitant number of injuries this year and the replacement players have been far from adequate. When healthy, the Blue Jays were among the top offenses in baseball with the excellent 1-2 punch of Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion.
The mention of Bautista brings me to my second point. Jose Bautista and David Ortiz have developed quite the friendship. Bautista credits Ortiz as his mentor and believes that Ortiz helped to show him his way to success in baseball. Both players come from the Dominican Republic, but their relationship goes beyond their shared heritage. Ortiz has served as Bautista’s mentor, friend, and even business partner.
Could Jose Bautista sell Ortiz on the idea that the Toronto Blue Jays could contend in 2013? Perhaps. However, general manager Alex Anthopoulos would need to do some lifting as well. In order to contend in 2013, the Blue Jays need significant pitching help. They’ll need a front-end starter and even some help in the middle of the rotation.
If the Toronto Blue Jays can show David Ortiz that they are just one piece away from contention, expect the MLB Rumors surrounding Ortiz to Toronto to swirl in the coming offseason.
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Charles Davis is a baseball writer for RantSports.com with a specific focus on the Toronto Blue Jays, their farm system, and prospects league-wide. Read his articles here and follow him on Twitter @CPDavis90.