Friday, April 09, 2010

What to Do about Big Papi

It’s officially baseball season in Boston, which can only mean one thing: we are doomed.

This week’s “we are doomed” is mostly a result of David Ortiz. Screw the war overseas, what the hell are we going to do about this guy?! It’s a matter of national crisis, a hot topic of debate, and if you say the wrong thing, you may lose a finger.

Honestly though, what are we going to do about Big Papi? His production has steadily declined over the past couple years, no doubt a result of aging (and dare I say a lack of PEDs). We really can’t expect him to hit 54 home runs or knock in 137 RBIs. Unfortunately, the way the team is set up this year, that’s what we need.

In theory, the Red Sox team is a haven for Golden Glovers. A defensive paradise, if you will. While run prevention is all sorts of fabulous, we’re still going to need to score runs. If this was the 2006 or 2007 Red Sox, we’d be all set. Papi would be our man, hitting fastballs with the greatest of ease. Well guys, he can’t do that anymore. He probably won’t exceed 30 home runs this year, and I doubt he’ll get over 100 RBIs either. This isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, but when you’ve got a team that’s all about defense, you need at least one strong hitter on offense. Also, if we have to wait until mid-season for this guy to start hitting I will lose my mind.

“But he had a hit Wednesday night against the Yankees!”

Screw you. He’s 1 for 11. Meanwhile, we’ve got Mike Lowell on the bench. Is Lowell really a better hitter than Ortiz? In terms of consistent production, I’d say yes. I think that Lowell is someone that we’re not going to have to wait until halfway through the season to see results from. Put him in the DH position now and he’ll be hitting in Dustin Pedroia and maybe V-Mart with some frequency. But instead, Theo and Tito are waiting it out. I can maybe understand this strategy if Ortiz just had an iffy year last year. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that he’s been consistently declining though. I’m apt to think that these guys have lost their minds. I mean, at least throw Lowell in against a lefty pitcher. You’re paying him, Papi is bad against lefties, so use Lowell. This is not rocket science.

This is a sport, not a best friend contest. When a player isn’t producing, and hasn’t been producing, over a period of time, you sit him and try someone else. Forget about hurt egos and hurt feelings, that’s what you’re signing up for when you get involved in any athletic activity. I’m aware that it’s still early. We’ve only played 3 games. But for a guy with something to prove, he needs to be stronger than he is now.

All I’m asking is that if the end of April Big Papi is not hitting, pull him and try Lowell as your regular starting DH. I want to remember Ortiz as a home-run hitting beast, not a declining player who swears at the media.

Samantha Lewis is a conference production assistant by day and a sports writer by night. In her free time she hits opposite field home runs. You can read more from her at Beantown Athletic Supporters.


perryglasser said...

sports = business, but definitely not a best friend business. If he's under .250 by the end of April, Lowell it is; under .220, talk of retirement is in order.


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