David Ortiz will be the central figure of the Boston Red Sox offense when he is healthy. But, as spring training moves forward, it has started to become a concern that Ortiz may struggle with his health all season.
When the Red Sox invested a two-year, $25 million contract on the 37-year-old Ortiz, it was likely done with the expectation that he would be ready by spring training and gradually work his way back into shape as he recovered from a Achilles heel injury suffered last season.
But as spring has progressed, he has struggled to sustain activities with Boston and looks to have come to camp overweight, something that has also hindered his effectiveness and rehab.
If the Red Sox are to compete in the American League East this season, they will need to have a productive season from Ortiz as the designated hitter. Once he left the Red Sox lineup last season, they struggled to score at an alarming rate.
Given the veteran improvements that the team has made this offseason, adding Mike Napoli, Jonny Gomes, Stephen Drew and Shane Victorino to the lineup, Boston’s offense should be solid from top to bottom.
Ortiz was extremely productive last season when he was on the field, hitting 23 home runs with 60 RBI’s while hitting .318 in only 90 games before the injury. If he could give the Red Sox similar production over maybe 12—130 games, the team would be ecstatic.
Now, the question for the Red Sox is: will Ortiz be ready to start the season? It is hard question to answer when he has yet to play a game yet for Boston this spring and is still having a hard time running.
If Ortiz misses the first month of the season, it is something that Boston should be able to overcome, shifting Gomes and Mike Carp into the DH spot and giving top prospect Jackie Bradley, Jr. the job in left.
The decision to acquire Carp looks like a very smart move right now, giving the Red Sox solid depth to deal with this injury short-term. But if Ortiz misses a couple of months, then all bets are off.
Jon can be reached:
Rant Sports: Jonathan Cullen
Google Plus: Jonathan Cullen