Already platooning with Mike Lowell because he can’t hit lefties, Big Papi is now seemingly unable to hit righties too. His line last night was ugly: 0-for-4, with two strikeouts and two double plays. As I mentioned in this morning’s recaps, the second double play came with the game tied 1-1, the based juiced and no one out. See the fail of it all here.
Ortiz now sits at .149/.240/.358. And actually, he’s hitting worse against the righties than he is the lefties (.614 vs. 694 OPS, respectively). He’s been atrocious with runners in scoring position (.356 OPS). He has brought absolutely nothing to the table this season sans a butt in a roster slot that Mike Lowell’s excellent hitting — .317/.391/.512, including a pinch-hit RBI double soon after Papi’s DP — is making increasingly redundant.
At least his teammates have his back. Here’s Dustin Pedroia:
“David’s fine. He’s one of our teammates. It could’ve
been me that hit into a double play. It happens to everybody, man. He’s
had 60 at-bats. A couple of years ago, I was hitting .170 and everyone
was ready to kill me too. What happened? Laser show so relax. I’m tired
of looking at the NESN poll, ‘Why is David struggling?’ David’s fine.
He’s one of our teammates. We believe in him. He came out of it last
year, he’s going to come out of it this year.”
Pedroia is probably referring to 2007, when he was in the .170s at about this point of the season. Of course he was also 23 years-old at the time, was making the league minimum, was not expected to carry much of the Red Sox’ offensive load, had defensive value and turned it around to earn Rookie of the Year honors. Not exactly the same situation.
Pedroia is right about the fact that Ortiz did come out of it last year. But is that something the Red Sox can count on again this year? And even if it is, is it something for which they can afford to wait?
If I’m Theo Epstein I thank David Ortiz for his service but send him off on an ice floe or a burning viking ship or whatever it is you do with old DHs who can’t cut it anymore. Harsh? Maybe. But the AL East is pretty harsh too, and the Red Sox stand 6.5 games behind a couple of teams who show no signs of slowing down.
Something has to be done. David Ortiz has got to go.
The dust hasn’t quite settled after right-hander Dellin Betances‘ arbitration hearing with the Yankees on Saturday. The case was decided in the team’s favor, awarding Betances with a $3 million salary for the 2017 season instead of the $5 million he initially requested. Yankees’ president Randy Levine held a press conference to voice his outrage over the figure presented by Betances and his agency, saying it had “no bearings in reality” since Betances does not have the elite closer status required for a salary bump of that magnitude.
Needless to say, the comments caused some consternation within Betances’ camp. The reliever publicly addressed the outburst, telling the press that he was prepared to put his differences with the team aside until he heard what Levine had to say. Via MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch:
Players union executive Rick Shapiro and Betances’ agent, Jim Murray, also spoke out in the right-hander’s favor. Shapiro presented Betances’ case during the hearing on Saturday and called Levine’s comments “an absolute disgrace to the arbitration process and to all of Major League Baseball.” In a report from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, Shapiro added: “The only thing that has been unprecedented in the last 36 hours is that a club official, after winning a case, called a news conference to effectively gloat about his victory – that’s unprecedented.”
Murray spoke exclusively to Rosenthal, accusing the president of effectively bullying the 28-year-old during the arbitration process and claiming that Levine had both mispronounced Betances’ name throughout the hearing and blamed the reliever for “declining ticket sales and their lack of playoff history.” Like Betances, Murray said that the agency was ready to accept the arbiter’s decision and move on before Levine’s decision to air his grievances to the media. “The only person overreaching in this entire situation is Randy,” Murray told Rosenthal. “He might as well be an astronaut because nobody on earth would agree with what he is saying. Even the others in the room would disagree with him.”
Royals’ manager Ned Yost is shaking things up in 2017, starting with left fielder Alex Gordon. Yost told MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan that “every scenario is open,” and expects to utilize Gordon in right and center field this spring while he figures out where to position Jorge Soler and Brandon Moss.
Gordon, 33, hasn’t manned right field since a three-game experiment with the Royals back in 2010 and has yet to play center field during any regular season to date. The focus, however, isn’t on Gordon’s capabilities. Among the three outfielders, he carries the best defensive profile and appears to be the most versatile of the bunch.
According to Flanagan, Soler and Moss are average on defense and will continue working closely with Royals’ coach Rusty Kuntz as the season approaches. One arrangement could see Gordon in center field, flanked by Soler in right field and Moss in left, though Yost foresees Soler taking some reps at DH if his defensive chops aren’t up to snuff.
While Moss is prepared to see starts at either outfield corner, Yost appears to be set on keeping Soler in right field, at least for the time being. The club is hoping for a bounce-back season from the 24-year-old outfielder, who was acquired from the Cubs in December after batting a lackluster .238/.333/.436 and sustaining a slew of minor injuries throughout the 2016 season.