Well, that's it everybody. The show is almost over.
Through Derek Jeter's The Player Tribune, Red Sox legend David Ortiz announced his retirement following the conclusion of the upcoming 2016 season. In his career, Ortiz has amassed 503 home runs, 1641 RBI, 2303 hits, and a .284 batting average, while being elected to 9 All Star games.
The Large Father will be sorely missed in the heart of the Red Sox order. For the past 13 years, Big Papi has graced us with his supreme confidence, loving personality, and solid performance in the batter's box.
Beyond his regular season numbers, there is a reason he has dubbed the nickname Señor October. In his 3 World Series appearances, all of which the Red Sox won by the way (2004, 2007, 2013), Ortiz has hit a blistering .455, with 3 home runs and 14 RBI in 14 games.
Simply put, no one has had a bigger impact on the Red Sox organization. Ever.
Ted Williams and others were better players, but there has never been someone that dawns a Red Sox uniform that has meant as much to the team and maybe the city of Boston (we all remember his speech following the 2013 Marathon Bombing. If that doesn't give you chills, you aren't a true Bostonian.) . Without Ortiz, chances are the Red Sox don't win their three World Series.
But what does the move mean for the Red Sox in the long term?
The obvious issue, and possible need that they will need to address sooner rather than later, for the Red Sox is his offensive production. Ortiz consistently hit 30+ home runs and racked in 100+ RBI in an era where the designated hitter is not usually utilized by most teams.
Fortunately (and possibly unfortunately) for the Red Sox, Hanley Ramirez is still on their roster. While Ramirez was limited to 105 games in 2015, he also had to play the field. If Ramirez doesn't have to play the field, there is a chance that he could make an actual impact on this team. Imagine Ramirez being able to play 140 games at DH, and we could see the Hanley that appeared in April of last year.
Similarly, if the Red Sox choose that they still want to trade Ramirez, they now have some leverage with other teams. While most teams know that the Red Sox want to get rid of Ramirez, Boston can now give the impression that they are okay with keeping the talented, yet troubled, slugger. Instead of eating 60+% of his contract, maybe now they can lower than number, and possibly throw in a mid-level prospect.
The move impacts other players, and other questions will arise. Instead of Hanley Ramirez getting the nod at DH in 2017 (if he is still here), could Pablo Sandoval make the move? Are the Red Sox now in the market for a power hitter, like Chis Davis? Does the money now saved in 2017 and beyond bring in a player like David Price?
All of these questions could and should be addressed before Spring Training.
I'm sad to see Big Papi go, but this should now be an even more interesting offseason.
By Pete Packowski