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Red Sox

Roche: Stop The Ortiz Bashing

By Dan Roche, WBZ-TV Sports
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David Ortiz (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

David Ortiz (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

WBZ-TV's Dan Roche Dan Roche
Dan Roche is an award-winning sports anchor and reporter for WBZ-T...
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BOSTON (CBS) – I don’t get it. Would somebody please tell me why it was a bad idea to sign David Ortiz to a 2 year 26-30 million dollar contract?

How many times do we have to go over this?

David Ortiz is arguably “the greatest clutch hitter” in Red Sox history. Since being acquired on January 22nd, 2003 he has been as consistent a hitter as you will find in the game. He has hit at least 23 home runs while driving in a minimum of 60 runs every year. He has hit 23 or more home runs four times, 30 or more home runs three times, 40 or more two times, and 50 or more once. He has amassed 90 or more RBI twice and has picked up 100 or more RBI six times.

He has been an All-Star eight times including each of the past three seasons. In 66 postseason games he has hit .288 with an OBP of .388 and a Slugging percentage of .520.

He has been a solid clubhouse guy here in Boston. No, he is not your “take charge scream and yell” type of leader, but he works his tail off at his craft. He loves to hit and he loves to win. He has gone to the house of Manny Ramirez and begged him to play so the team would have a chance to win. He also can handle playing in Boston, not an easy thing to do.

David Ortiz is also an ambassador for the game of baseball. Go to an All-Star game with him and watch how many fellow All-Stars flock to him.

Ortiz’s team was also a run better with him in the line-up this season.

The one thing you can raise a red flag on is his Achilles. Will it hold up or two years? The Red Sox seem to think so.

Meanwhile, look around baseball and find a productive designated hitter. Not easy.

As for money….Ortiz made 14.5 million this past season. Adrian Gonzalez(21.8), Carl Crawford(20.3), Josh Beckett(17), and John Lackey(15.9) al made more and none of them did much of anything at all. Kevin Youkilis(12.2) and Daisuke Matsuzaka(10.3) also got paid big bucks while underperforming. And, you can argue that Gonzalez and Ortiz have been by far the two most consistent performers in this group.

And if Ortiz doesn’t perform for the next two seasons or even next season? His 14 million this season and 11 million in 2014 aren’t going to kill the Red Sox. There’s no 100 million dollars to handcuff the team.

And, I will end it with this. If David Ortiz blows out his Achilles tomorrow and never plays another game in a Red Sox uniform…..I still won’t hate this deal. He has already given the Red Sox as much as any player in the history of thus franchise. And, unlike many players we’ve watched the past several years don a Sox uniform…….night in and night out…….he has fully earned every penny he’s been given.

So, let’s move on to the rest of the offseason and worry about every other position if you want. Just not the designated hitter.

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