By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The Red Sox clearly won’t be able to “replace” David Ortiz, neither his bat in the lineup nor his commanding presence in the clubhouse. But it sounds like they will put forth the best possible effort to find a suitable replacement for Big Papi.
The top option could be the Blue Jays’ Edwin Encarnacion, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent after the season. Targeting Encarnacion might seem like a pipe dream, considering that there will likely be many big-market teams in play for his services, but CSNNE’s Sean McAdam believes the Red Sox will aggressively target him in the offseason as a potential replacement for Ortiz.
“I think the Red Sox are already sort of bracing fans and everybody else by saying, ‘You can’t replace David Ortiz.’ That may sound like a cliche, but I think in this instance it’s true,” McAdam said on CSNNE’s The Baseball Show. “In terms of his persona, his aura, the leadership, the production … Those are two impossible shoes to fill.
“But, I do think that they will go very hard after Encarnacion with Toronto. That seems to be the guy that they think is closest to providing near the production that Ortiz has given them in recent years. There are other opportunities, there are other guys out there … but I think that Encarnacion with Toronto will be the guy that they zero in on.”
McAdam is generally tapped into the dealings inside the Red Sox organization, so the idea that the team will try to sign Encarnacion isn’t just baseless speculation. If they really want to “zero in” on Encarnacion, then it could take a longer term and higher dollar amount than other bidders. It would be hard to have a problem with the Red Sox shelling out the money it takes to put Encarnacion’s impact bat in the middle of the lineup, unless it takes away from opportunities to add impact pitching to the staff.
Encarnacion batted .263 with 42 home runs and tied David Ortiz for the American League lead with 127 RBIs in 2016. He is really earning himself a big-time free agent contract with his play in the postseason for the Blue Jays, batting .375 with three homers, seven RBIs, and a 1.411 OPS in just four games so far.
Should the Red Sox sign Encarnacion? Vote below.
Matt Dolloff is a writer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.