The Red Sox have an expensive option on David Ortiz. I’ve convinced myself that there would be dumber things for the Sox to do than pay Ortiz $12 million next year, if for no other reason than it will limit their controversial offseason moves to one (Papelbon) and at some point the hassle reduction is worth a couple million bucks if you have it to spare.
But that’s apparently not good enough for Big Papi:
In an interview for The Bradford Files podcast, Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz explained
that he won’t feel ‘comfortable’ playing under a one-year deal for next
season, citing his discomfort with going through some of the pressures
that he experienced throughout the 2010 campaign.
Ortiz says he really wants to stay in Boston, but he also says that the scrutiny he faces there is too much to take without an extra year on a deal:
“I don’t think I
can keep up with all the crap that you go through just because you cool
off for one week or one month. I think the only way you can stay away
from that when people know you have a guaranteed contract.”
I see this in exactly the opposite way. The “pressure” of being in a walk year — which, for all practical purposes, 2010 was for him — seemed to suit his production just fine. Only a psychiatrist can tell us for sure, but Ortiz would not have been the first player to step his game up, unconsciously or otherwise, because he needed to in order to secure his future. Give him two years — which would almost certainly be his last contract — and maybe the motivation is gone.
Likewise, does Ortiz really think a multi-year contract would bring him less scrutiny if he slumps? The Boston writers can be vicious, but they’re not dumb, and it would not be long before the “we’re stuck with this through the 2012 season?” sentiment started to build. If he has a one year contract and falls off a cliff people can at least calm themselves with the notion that, hey, it will be over soon.
Ortiz is probably worth one year and $7 million or so. Picking up his one year, $12 million option isn’t the best move ever, but it’s doable. Guaranteeing his presence for two or more seasons at this point of his career, however, seems like madness.
After 71 years, the Cubs are headed back to the Fall Classic.
The dominance with which Clayton Kershaw attacked the Cubs in Game 2 of the NLCS was nonexistent in Game 6 as the Dodgers’ ace loaded the bases to start the first inning and scattered five extra bases and five runs over five frames. By the time Dave Roberts pulled his starter in the sixth inning, Kershaw was sitting on a Game Score of 33, the lowest he’s mustered since the start of the 2015 season. Only one of his strikes came via curveball, and whether he was having difficulty locating his off-speed stuff or felt more confident with the fastball-slider combo, it was the fewest curves he’d seen land for strikes all year (per David Adler).
Where the Dodgers were able to give Kershaw the edge in Game 2, they found themselves powerless against opposing hurler Kyle Hendricks. Hendricks turned out 7 1/3 scoreless frames with two hits and six strikeouts, preserving the Cubs’ second shutout of the postseason and the first since they bested the Giants in Game 1 of the NLDS. After his 1-0 loss to the Dodgers early in the NLCS, seeing the MLB ERA leader turn out a gem was a relief for the Cubs, especially one as spectacular as an 88-pitch two-hitter.
With Hendricks effectively stymieing the Dodgers’ best attempts to get on base, the Cubs played to their strengths at the plate. Kris Bryant and Ben Zobrist cleared the bases in the first inning for a two-run lead, followed by a Dexter Fowler RBI single in the second. Willson Contreras came through in the fourth inning for the Cubs, lifting an 87 m.p.h. slider to left field for his first home run of October, while Anthony Rizzo hit his second homer of the postseason on a 1-1 fastball in the fifth.
Neither bullpen allowed a single run from the sixth inning onward. Dodgers’ right-hander Kenley Jansen took the ball from Kershaw in the sixth, scattering four strikeouts over three innings and denying the Cubs so much as a single baserunner through the end of the game. Aroldis Chapman, meanwhile, issued just one walk in 1 1/3 scoreless frames, inducing a Yasiel Puig double play to clinch the Cubs’ 17th franchise pennant.
With the win, the Cubs will face off against the Indians in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday at 8 PM EDT. And, in case you needed a reminder:
So much for Clayton Kershaw posing a threat tonight. The Cubs got their knocks in early and often against the Dodgers’ ace during Game 6 of the NLCS, racking up three runs in the first three innings before rookie catcher Willson Contreras unleashed his first postseason home run in the bottom of the fourth inning.
According to MLB.com’s Phil Rogers, Contreras became the 10th Cub to homer in the 2016 playoffs, following big hits by Addison Russell, Anthony Rizzo, Dexter Fowler, Miguel Montero, David Ross, Jake Arrieta, Kris Bryant, Travis Wood, and Javier Baez. Of the ten home run hitters, Contreras joins catchers David Ross and Miguel Montero as yet another backstop capable of driving the long ball (and, less importantly, as another player capable of a sweet, sweet bat flip).
Rizzo, whose last homer was a deep drive to right field off of Los Angeles right-hander Pedro Baez in Game 4 of the NLCS, piled on Kershaw’s five-run outing with another home run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Kershaw called it a night after five frames, and the Cubs currently lead the Dodgers 5-0 in the sixth inning.