David Ortiz, Red Sox set for an arbitration hearing today

10 Comments

UPDATE:  They settled. Read the details here.

Barring an 11th hour settlement — and those often happen in these cases — The Red Sox and DH David Ortiz are set to have an arbitration hearing today. If the thing goes off as scheduled, it will be the Red Sox’ first hearing in ten years.

As previously reported, The Red Sox offered $12.65 million. Ortiz countered with $16.5 million.  You never can be totally sure how these things will go but, with the knowledge that salaries tend to rise in arbitration, not stay static, the Red Sox’ offer seems kind of low.  Ortiz made $12.5 million last year and then put together his best season in four years, posting a .309/.398/.554 line.

One would think that’s worth more than a $150,000 raise. And since an arbitration panel has to choose one number or the other — they can’t split the difference themselves — one would think that, if the sides don’t settle for $14 million or so that they’d go with Ortiz’s submission.

But, to use one of the most hackneyed phrases in all of writing … only time will tell.

Matt Carpenter hit a standup bunt double

Getty Images
2 Comments

The wave of defensive shifts we’ve seen over the past few years has led to a lot of armchair hitting coaches demanding that players bunt to beat it. This is easier said than done, however.

The shift happens because certain hitters tend to pull the ball. Certain hitters tend to pull the ball because pulling the ball is what happens when one gets a strong, quick swing on a pitch one identifies early and which one endeavors to send as far away from home plate as possible. Which is to say that pulling is a skill that is good to have and which is strongly selected for among hitters.

In light of that, “why not just bunt to beat the shift” takes are kind of lazy. Bunting is hard! And it is not a thing guys who get shifted a lot are good at. Most of the time asking a player to do a thing he is not well-equipped to do is a bad idea. Indeed, a hitter voluntarily going away from his strength is something the defense would much prefer.

Most of the time anyway.

Last night Matt Carpenter made those armchair hitting coaches happy by laying down a bunt to beat the shift. And he laid it down so well that he ended up with a standup double:

One batter later Carpenter scored on a Starlin Castro error.

The shift giveth and the shift taketh away.