The inevitable finally happened recently. David Ortiz, the designated hitter and undisputed leader of the Boston Red Sox got a one-year, $16 million extension. This seems to all but insure that he will be finishing his career in a Boston uniform.
It seems as though there are some people out there in Red Sox Nation who are a little concerned about this. It is slightly understandable considering that Ortiz is a power hitter and in MLB, they tend to fade away quickly and dramatically. Jim Rice, for example, was a Hall of Fame player for most of his career, but his last year was absolutely horrible.
The difference is that Ortiz is not just having serviceable years, he is still dominating almost like he was back in 2004-07. You don’t see any significant dropoff or even get a slight sense that he is fading. As long as he is producing like he has been, why wouldn’t you pay him what he is worth?
There is a precedence to the years that Ortiz has been having at his age. Think of perhaps the greatest designated hitter of all time, Edgar Martinez. He batted .294 with 24 home runs and 98 runs batted in at the age of 40. That is a fantastic year for someone of that age. At age 41, he batted .263 with 12 home runs. It seemed just when his skills were just starting to slip was when he called it quits.
Ortiz could end up the same way, a couple more strong years and then go from there. The thing to remember is the Red Sox wouldn’t have won last year’s World Series without him. If he can keep up this pace, he deserves every dollar he is due to get.