The Boston Red Sox could soon face a monumental task — finding a replacement when the seemingly immortal David Ortiz finally hangs up his spikes.
This week the slugger set a franchise record by recording his eighth season for 30 home runs and 100 RBI, but at age 38 (and turning 39 in November), there likely aren’t many seasons left for Big Papi.
Manager John Farrell said he dreads the day he has to replace David Ortiz in the middle of the Red Sox lineup.
“I’d hate to think where we’d be without him,” Farrell said.
But as Boston Herald writer Scott Lauber points out, that day is coming sooner rather than later:
“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 isn’t showing any sign of aging.”
Even David Ortiz admits that the team needs more firepower in the lineup, and that was part of the reason that the club acquired outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.
In its prediction of the Boston Red Sox 2015 lineup, the Globe lists free agent Pablo Sandoval as the starting third baseman — and a possible replacement for David Ortiz down the line.