Red Sox need to find the next David Ortiz – Boston Herald
David Ortiz didn’t have to hit two more home runs last Friday night in Baltimore or eclipse Ted Williams’ 63-year-old benchmark for the most 30-homer/100-RBI seasons in franchise history for manager John Farrell to ponder the scenario that fills everyone in the Red Sox organization with dread.
“I’d hate to think,” Farrell said, “where we’d be without him.”
Eventually, the Sox will have to cross that perilous bridge. Ortiz will turn 39 in November and has one year and two options left on his contract. And although he continues to defy his baseball mortality — he’s on pace to be only the seventh player with at least 30 homers and a .875 OPS in his season as a 38-year-old — history shows there will come a time when even Big Papi can’t slug like he used to.
And then what?
The Red Sox’ dependence on Ortiz is downright alarming. This season, the Sox have scored 593 runs, fewest in the American League and fourth-fewest in the majors, ahead of only the National League’s Cincinnati Reds, Atlanta Braves and San Diego Padres. Yet somehow Ortiz has 104 RBI, his highest total since 2007 when the Sox racked up 867 runs and he drove in 117.
No player has driven in a higher percentage of his team’s runs in 2014 than Ortiz (17.5 percent). The next-closest one-man show: Giancarlo Stanton, the NL MVP candidate whose season ended with a Sept. 11 beaning after he accounted for 16.9 percent of the Miami Marlins’ scoring.
And while not having Ortiz’ production would have served only to bury the last-place Sox even deeper in a relatively mediocre AL East, there’s a larger point here, namely that general manager Ben Cherington must diversify the offense enough in the offseason that the team is less reliant on its aging slugger, even if he …read more