There’s been talk for the last week or so about the possibility of the struggling slugger David Ortiz getting released from the Red Sox. And today, my blogging friend Steve Lombardi of Was Watching wonders if the Yankees might pick up Big Papi. (I had been thinking of writing a similar piece to tie in to this weekend’s Yanks-Sox series, but Steve beat me to the punch – I mean keyboard!)
My guess is that if the Sox release Ortiz, the chances are better than 50/50 that Brian Cashman will pick him up. Here’s my logic:
* It’s a low-risk, high reward move. If the change of scenery somehow rejuvenates Ortiz, then the Yanks not only get a good player for the major league minimum, but they stick it to the Red Sox. If it doesn’t, then the Yanks can just dump him.
* There’s plenty of historical precedent for such a move. From big stars like Babe Ruth and Wade Boggs becoming Yankees, to mid-level stars like Johnny Damon and Luis Tiant, to aging stars like George Scott, to the modern day-precedents of Alan Embree and Mark Bellhorn getting released by Boston and picked up by New York, Red Sox putting on pinstripes has happened a ton. Why wouldn’t it happen again?
* Nick Johnson isn’t exactly the second coming of Reggie Jackson in the DH spot. Is there a chance that Cashman could give Ortiz a chance there, at least on a part-time basis? Absolutely.
* Other than the weekend after he was revealed to have been part of that infamous 2003 list of 104 PED users, where he got booed strongly by Yankee fans, Ortiz has never gotten quite the same type of vitriol that, say, the likes of Curt Schilling has received from the Bomber faithful. It’s not that Ortiz is exactly liked by Yankee fans, but he’s just never been one of the most hated Red Sox the way, say, Jonathan Papelbon is now, or Pedro Martinez was back in the day.
* Alex Rodriguez is good friends with Ortiz. I could see A-Rod vouching for him. And unlike some other past Red Sox, Ortiz doesn’t seem to be hated by the Yankee players.
And forget about the idea that Ortiz would turn down being a Yankee, out of loyalty to the Red Sox. Please. If the Sox dump him, I could see him wanting to stick it to them, the way he was so bitter about the Minnesota Twins once releasing him. And what better way is there to do that than to be a Yankee?
So, Yankee fans: get your Pepto-Bismol ready. I could be wrong, but I have a hunch that we may be seeing one of the great Yankee killers of all time in pinstripes! Oh joy.
What do you think? Tell us about it!