Posts Tagged ‘David Ortiz’

I honestly tried to write a coherent, well-thought through piece about this, but I could not do it.  I just do not care if guys used steroids at a time when there was no way to punish them.  I have no idea how these writers for Sports Illustrated and ESPN keep churning out article after article about steroid use.  It may be because I am young and grew up watching the Juiced Era and do not know any better, but I thought it was a pretty accepted fact that Ortiz was on something during his tenure with the Red Sox, and that was just the way it was. 

28 years old DH’s do not randomly add 122 points to their OPS, 76 points to their ISO, and almost double their HR/FB rate over night.  All of these people who are now crying foul are hypocrites.  No one said anything in ’98 when Big Mac was hitting home runs left, right and center.  They said nothing about Ortiz in ’04 because he was so happy go lucky and part of a great story with the Red Sox.  Instead they chose to pick on Bonds, who has been driven completely out of baseball.  The only people who should be allowed to criticize these “cheaters” are guys who brought up the issue a long time ago.  Off the top of my head, I can think of Jose Canseco and Rick Helling.  Baseball needs to leave what happened in the past in the past.  If they are really serious about cleaning up the game, they should work on things they can actually control, like players using PED’s in the PRESENT.


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Red Sox GM Theo Epstein once again showed why he is one of the best in the business, acquiring former 32 home run hitter Adam LaRoche for two mid-level prospects.  Going the other way are AA shortstop Argenis Diaz and A pitcher Hunter Strickland.

In LaRoche, the Red Sox get an average defensive first baseman who can give Mike Lowell some extra days off (Youkilis will move over to third when LaRoche plays), and replace David Ortiz at DH when necessary.  LaRoche’s best season came in 2006 with the Braves when he hit 32 home runs and had a .915 OPS.  He was traded to the Pirates for reliever Mike Gonzalez the following off-season, but failed to live up to his billing in Pittsburgh.  He is obviously excited to leave the sinking ship in Pittsburgh, saying “I’m grateful for the opportunity that a team like that wants me.”  Hopefully for the Red Sox their winning atmosphere will help get him back on track.

Considering what they once gave up to acquire LaRoche, the Pirates are getting very little in return, which is par for the course for them.  Diaz is a 22 year old AA shortstop with a paltry .619 OPS and brutal .947 fielding percentage.  Strickland has improved steadily since turning professional two years ago, and owns a 5-4 record and 3.35 ERA in A ball.  He exhibits good control with a 1.4 BB/9, which is important considering his fastball sits in the 89-91 MPH range.  It is unlikely much will ever come of these two players, making this a great trade for the Red Sox and spelling more years of misery for the Pirates.

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I went to the Jays game on Saturday against the Red Sox, and had the pleasure of getting a first-hand look at the decline of David Ortiz.  All I can say is wow.  He was bailing out on breaking balls from LHP Brian Tallet and check swinging the majority of fastballs.  Needless to say, he looked awful, going 0-4 with a couple of K’s. 

The Red Sox have dropped him to sixth in the batting order, but it is surprising to see him even that high.  The guy hitting behind him, Jason Varitek, has ten times more home runs than him.  Who would have thought we would see the day when Varitek has ten times as many home runs as Big Papi?  I am surprised he was even pencilled into the line-up against a LHP in a big game against a division rival.  He was also of course booed heartily at every chance, bringing to light many fans beliefs that he may have been involved with PED’s.

It will be interesting to see how Ortiz bounces back from this terrible start.  If this is indeed the end of the road, hopefully Red Sox fans will be able to remember him as the man who brought joy and two World Series titles to Boston, and not the player he has been so far this year. 

As a side note, hopefully OF Rocco Baldelli is OK.  He left the game after crashing hard into the wall in foul territory chasing down a fly ball.  For a guy who has been through much as he had, this would be another unfortunate injury.  You have to love how hard he went after the ball though; he still has the heart to play.

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