Big Papi back to putting up big numbers

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Remember when David Ortiz was hitting just .185 with one homer through two months and people were quick to write him off as washed up? Turns out, not so much.
Ortiz went deep twice last night, including a walk-off blast that curled around Pesky Pole in the bottom of the ninth inning, and has now batted .257/.344/.566 with 21 homers, 35 total extra-base hits, and 59 RBIs in 70 games since June 1.
Here’s how those numbers stack up with the rest of the league during that time:

                  HR                        SLG                       RBI
DAVID ORTIZ       21      Kendry Morales   .612      Bobby Abreu       63
Russell Branyan   20      Miguel Cabrera   .578      DAVID ORTIZ       59
Carlos Pena       20      Adam Lind        .575      Kendry Morales    55
Kendry Morales    19      DAVID ORTIZ      .566      Russell Branyan   53
Aaron Hill        18      Hideki Matsui    .563      Juan Rivera       53

Since the calendar flipped to June, Ortiz has the league’s most homers, second-most RBIs, and fourth-highest slugging percentage. And we’re not just talking about a hot streak, as those totals are from nearly half a season’s worth of games. His overall stats remain mediocre and Ortiz obviously isn’t the MVP-caliber offensive force that he was from 2003-2007, but if the Red Sox get into the playoffs you can be certain that no one will be eager to pitch to him.
Incidentally, last night’s blast was the 10th walk-off homer of Ortiz’s career, which puts him two behind the all-time record of 12 shared by Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Frank Robinson, Stan Musial, and Jimmie Foxx. What, you were expecting Kurt Bevacqua?

Danny Espinosa reportedly skipped Nationals Winterfest because of Adam Eaton

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Danny Espinosa #8 of the Washington Nationals celebrates after teammate Chris Heisey #14 (not pictured) hits a two run home run in the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 13, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.

A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.

Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.

Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.

Nick Cafardo: Red Sox should deal Pomeranz, not Buchholz

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 18: Drew Pomeranz #31 of the Boston Red Sox pitches during the first inning against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on September 18, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox won 5-4. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)
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The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.

The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.

Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.

Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.