The Twins and Red Sox got together for some Grapefruit League action on Friday, which allowed Twins writers to catch up with Red Sox DH David Ortiz, who donned a Twins uniform nearly a decade and a half ago. One of those writers was Patrick Reusse of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, who published a report on Sunday.
Ortiz said he recently spoke with Doug Mientkiewicz, a former teammate of his with the Twins. Mientkiewicz had recently talked with Johan Santana, and they reminisced about the wealth of talent on the 2002 team. Ortiz was asked what would’ve happened if he stayed with the organization beyond 2002, when he was released. He said, “The Twins would’ve won another World Series.” Ortiz signed with the Red Sox in January 2003 and the rest, as they say, is history.
Terry Ryan was GM of the Twins then and now, and accepts full responsibility for the mistake of releasing Ortiz. He said, “Anyone who says it was a financial decision is dead wrong. It was a very bad baseball decision. We thought we had better options. We were wrong in a big way. It’s on me, nobody else. I’m the general manager. We don’t release big-league players without the general manager’s approval.”
Ortiz lamented not getting more of an opportunity with the Twins. He played 455 games spread out over his first six seasons, an average of 76 per season. The Twins yo-yoed him between the minors and the majors. Ortiz reminisced back to 1999, “I was in Triple-A in Salt Lake, hammerin’, and every team that we played, some player who had been in the big leagues would say, ‘David, what are you doing here? The Twins can’t score runs, they don’t have power, you’re exactly what they need.”
Ortiz added, “Terry Ryan doesn’t feel bad just because he let me go. He feels bad because he also knows the Twins treated me bad.”
The Red Sox don’t travel to Minnesota until June 10-12. Ortiz, 40, is retiring after the season, so it will be interesting to see what kind of reception the veteran gets from crowd at Target Field.