David Ortiz was in attendance at tonight’s Heat-Celtics game and told the Boston Globe that he is confident he will be back with the Red Sox next season.
The Red Sox have until three days after the World Series to decide whether to pick up his $12.5 million option for 2011.
“We’re going to talk next week,” he said.
Ortiz, who turns 35 in November, enjoyed a bounceback year in 2010, batting .270/.370/.529 with 32 homers and 102 RBI. He finished eighth in the league with an .899 OPS and ninth with 82 walks.
$12.5 million isn’t pocket change or anything, but the Red Sox could do a lot worse than bring him back and hope for a repeat with what we can only assume will be a healthier supporting cast. It’s worth noting that Ortiz told Rob Bradford of WEEI.com in September that he wouldn’t be comfortable coming back to Boston on a one-year contract. The two sides will talk, but methinks Red Sox GM Theo Epstein won’t be silly enough to guarantee an aging slugger a multi-year deal.
Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.
Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.
Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.
What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.
That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.