The Boston Red Sox and their designated hitter David Ortiz have been discussing a contract extension that would keep Ortiz in a Red Sox uniform through the 2015 season. Up until this year, it could have been considered that Ortiz at this stage in his career and his advancing age would not be worth the risk. However after how well Ortiz performed during the 2013 regular season and the postseason, Boston management without question should give the man what he wants.
Ortiz has really matured significantly in a Red Sox uniform, from a supporting player in the 2003 “Cowboy Up” team to the face of the franchise. It has come to the point where the Red Sox are considered Ortiz’s team. The rest of the team looks up to him and have even given him a new nickname, Cooperstown. Pretty cool nickname by the way. I am kind of surprised that no one thought of a nickname like that before. Anyways, Ortiz has become a full-fledged leader of the Red Sox. Two defining and memorable moments of the 2013 season involved Ortiz and his leadership. One was his speech with the accidental F-bomb at Fenway Park after the Boston Marathon tragedy. At that moment, he seemed the absolute right person at that particular moment. The other defining moment was the impromptu team meeting that he had in the dugout during Game 4 of the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. Ortiz must have sensed that his teammates were struggling a bit and he got them to settle down and focus on the task at hand.
Since following baseball, the only other player that I have seen that had a similar respect from his teammates was Willie Stargell of the Pittsburgh Pirates and especially during the 1979 championship season. That team was Stargell’s team and everybody knew it. It is the same now with Ortiz.
Traditionally, power hitters tend to lose it quickly so it is understandable why Boston won’t sign him to a huge, long-term contract. The Red Sox would be very foolish though to let Ortiz out on the open market. Even though he started his major league career as a member of the Minnesota Twins, he will always be remembered as a member of the Boston Red Sox. The man has contributed to three world championships in a decade. Whatever the man wants, give it to him. He is worth it and then some. If he isn’t the greatest designated hitter ever, he is certainly very much in the conversation.