Talkin Sox with Dan

Where baseball fans gather for commonsensical, opinionated Red Sox banter.

A Final Thought on David Ortiz

Today, the Red Sox and David Ortiz made their two-year deal official. I won’t be discussing whether or not it was a good choice that GM Ben Cherington and the Red Sox gave Ortiz a multi-year deal. It’s a fair debate, but one for a different day. Instead, I ask a question: Can you believe it?

Can you believe that on November 5, 2012, Ortiz received a two-year deal from the Red Sox?

Because three years ago, it would’ve sounded ridiculous.

In 2009, Ortiz hit .238 and posted his lowest OBP (.332) as a member of the Red Sox. He pulled everything and looked totally out of sync. Ortiz truly seemed like he was done. His numbers in 2010 were better but fell well short of what you would expect from the big slugger.

Then something happened.

It could have been Adrian Gonzalez‘ influence. I’m not sure. But Ortiz began hitting the ball to the opposite field with authority, just as he had done during the prime of his career. He was content with going to left field for a base hit. The long-time designated hitter began staying on the ball longer, refusing to bail out and ground to the right side. Ortiz went back to being a force against left handed pitching.

In the three years prior to 2011, Ortiz did not pass the eye test game in and game out against southpaws. He wasn’t selective and certainly was not getting on-base at the same clip that he did between 2004-2007. In the 236 combined games Ortiz played in 2011-2012, he posted an OBP of .407. He was back to his old self.

The Red Sox aren’t going to be any expert’s pick to win the World Series next year, but you can bet that if they find themselves in contention come September, it will be due in large part to Ortiz.

And if someone told me three years ago that Ortiz would be relied upon 2013, I wouldn’t have believed you.

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