Do The Yankees Have Room For Big Papi?

Most of us hate David Ortiz, but only because he’s worn a Red Sox uniform over the last 10 years. In that time, he’s hit .290/.389/.573, and he’s killed the Yankees with a .313/.403/.569 triple slash. Last year, at 36 years old, the designated hitter signed on to a one year deal with the Boston for $14.5 million. Age was a major deterrent from issuing a multi-year deal, but he’s continued to defy the expected deterioration in hitting.

A late season injury to his Achilles in August limited him to 383 plate appearances in 2012, but in that time he hit 23 homeruns and 26 doubles, walked more than he struck out, and finished with a .318/.415/.611 slash line. As much as we want to hate on him for wearing a different uniform, Ortiz has been one of the best hitters in baseball over the last decade, and the declining trends of age haven’t manifested yet. As he looks to hit the free agent market this offseason, should the Yankees be interested?

... and then they hired Bobby Valentine.

Technically, the Yankees don’t have a slotted designated hitter at the moment, but that could change at any point. Although the organization does not look eager to move either of Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez off the field, age can change a player quickly. As of right now, the DH spot is used by Joe Girardi to rest his older players, and that’s a luxury he would lose if he was given a full-time DH like Ortiz.

Furthermore, the Yankees have had success platooning older and cheaper players like Raul Ibanez and Andruw Jones. Both of these players had their memorable moments, but neither produced like David Ortiz has. Because Ortiz has very little to no platoon split, you no longer have to carry two platoon DH’s on your roster.

His bat also fits very well into the small confines of Yankee Stadium. You can’t consider him strictly a pull hitter, but the majority of his homeruns come from balls to right field, which would play well with the short right field porch. He also takes his walks without striking out much, something Yankee fans have been clamoring for after the strikeouts racked up during the playoffs.

It’s said that Ortiz is looking for a two year deal worth $25 million. This is a surprisingly reasonable starting point for one of the best hitters on the open market, but the price may still be too steep for a Yankee team eying a 2014/2015 budget. Obtaining him is very much a luxury at this point, and the Yankees have many more questions in areas more important than DH.

Despite Bobby Valentine claiming that he quit on the team, Ortiz is very  much wanted back in Boston. Even with the turmoil he’s gone through between the last two season, the 36 year old is excited about the Red Sox recent deal to acquire manager John Farrell, an indication that he wants to return.  Also, there are already rumors that both sides are working on a new contract. That said, I expect him to test the market, like he did last season, before he makes a decision.

The difference between his decision could come down to the fact that the Yankees and other teams may be a more enticing place to play than for the Red Sox. Many of his teammates in Boston have been traded or have retired over the last few years, and with that, the team looks extremely different. Not only has the organization had a rough two years, but they look to be rebuilding over the next few as well. Would Ortiz want to possibly play his final years of baseball on a non-competitive team? The Yankees have the upper hand here. Not only is the situation in the Bronx more stable,  but he’s very friendly with the other Dominican players like Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez.

This is where the Yankees would step in and at least bid up the slugger to help increase his offer with the Red Sox. The only way I could see the organization realistically obtaining Ortiz would be on order from ownership. As Brian Cashman has a job to keep payroll down, the Steinbrenners would have to make a decision against the budget in order to fit in an extra $12 million a year. The way the offense collapsed during the playoffs, I wouldn’t be too surprised if this option is rattling around in Hank and Hal’s minds. The chances are slim, but certainly not zilch.

About Michael Eder

Mike is the co-Editor-in-Chief of It's About The Money. Outside of blogging baseball, Mike is also a musician, a runner, and a beer lover.

17 thoughts on “Do The Yankees Have Room For Big Papi?

  1. Big Papi may have been a Yankee tormentor since 2004 but, unlike clowns like Schilling, never was a gloater. He’s always seemed to be a class act. I could stomach him as a Yankee, just as another 2004 tormentor, Damon, became a valuable asset (likewise in the past with, e.g., Tiant and Boggs), although his age and expected salary probably do not make sense. But the Yankees have made other seemingly illogical acquisitions before and, if jettisoning Granderson, Swisher, and/or ARod, might be less illogical.

      • As a long-time Raiders fan, I have never accepted the Immaculate Reception as a legitimate play. While I doubt the debate over the antiquated rule regarding an offensive reception having to come off a defensive deflection (vs. another offensive deflection) that was in effect in 1972 but is no longer will ever be resolved, I am certain that the replay films indicate that the deflected pass had to touch the ground (tip of football) as Franco Harris “caught” it. Up until the Tuck Rule (and maybe now the Seattle-Green Bay fiasco), it was the worst call ever, but understandable given no replay and the fact that the game was in Pittsburgh. Had it been in Oakland, it would have been correctly ruled an incompletion.

  2. On the contrary , we Yankee fans LOVE Big Papi , what we hate is that he has decimated us at the plate , and the Red Sox in general .

    With a reasonably priced Ishiro in right field , taking over for a high priced departing Swisher , the money could be used for a 2 year $25 mil. Ortiz contract . Let senior Yanks rest by taking the day off , and Ortiz monopolizing the DH spot is not a problem – it’s a dream come true!

    • Us Yankee fans Do not love big papi..speak for yourself.we don’t need someone monopolizing the dh that cannot play defense!

  3. I would pick him up in a minute. I think we really need one more big bat and he’s one of the biggest. Jeter and Arod are both rightys so they would platoon perfectly with a big lefty like Papi. If the Yankees sign one free agent this offseason it should be Ortiz.

  4. Yes they should sign Ortiz because the Yanks don’t have enough overpaid under preforming power hitters!

    • NO WAY in hell, Ortiz is not yankee material.especially after he opened that big fat trash talking mouth of his when he was up for the same award a Jeter.He’s too old and he can’t play defense!

  5. I have always respected Ortiz and the way he plays. I would have no problem with him joining the Yankees and help bring another World Series title back to NY.

    • the yankees don’t need papi to bring home another WS..hes an aging DH that cannot play defense…

  6. Ortiz is not a showboater. He’s like Edgar Martinez was- he lets his bat do the talking for him. I wouldn’t mind having Ortiz on the team, but it would, indeed, cut down on Girardi’s option to use one of his regulars as a DH to give him some rest. And with Jeter’s mobility now a question mark in the wake of his ankle surgery, having Papi serve as DH may be a luxury the Yankees can’t afford, since DH may be Jeter’s semi-regular spot in the line-up, at least to start the season.

  7. Big Pappi could conceivably be a good acquistion for the Yanks with the idea that he splits DH duties with Tex.
    In stead of “DHing” A-Rod & Jeter why not periodically give them a full day’s rest as opposed to taking them out of the field and DHing them.
    A 162 game season is long and arduous particularly on older aged players…..Giradi attempted to address that by resting/DHing some of the key guys.
    I say instead of resting them give them a full day’s rest and possibly pinch hit in approrpiate situations.
    If A-Rod is unable to righ the ship in 2013 I much rather see a Big Pappi in the DH role then a pressing A-Rod.
    I say go after Big Papi as he certainly wpould “lick his chops” at the right field porch……maybe 40 dingers would be in his range as a full time player in the Bronx..!!!

  8. perhaps the Yankees might first spend money on making sure that they have starting pitching to keep the other guys from scoring much before worrying about whether they should add $12 million for a DH that they don’t much need.

    let’s first see about re-signing Kuroda and Pettitte…or replacing them