Nobody needs to be reminded that David Ortiz will be retiring after this year. However, over the past couple of days, the conversation has switched to who will be taking Ortiz’s spot in the lineup next year.
There are plenty of viable in-house options for sure, but Ortiz himself has brought up Edwin Encarnacion’s name, who is currently a Toronto Blue Jay, albeit for only the rest of this year.
“Hell, yeah. He’s a perfect replacement,” Ortiz said in a conversation with WEEI’s Rob Bradford. “Because of everything, but mostly because he can hit,” Ortiz went on to say.
As previously mentioned, Encarnacion will be a free agent after this year and contact talks have been tabled for the season. “I just didn’t want to talk during the season, and concentrate on my team, winning games and my year,” Encarnacion told Bradford.
“That’s why I told them I didn’t want to talk any more when the season started. I wanted to concentrate 100 percent, and I didn’t want any distractions talking about the contract,” Encarnacion went on to say.
So sure, he can go bring a World Series to Toronto and then next year he can come to Boston and be the designated hitter, right?
Ehh, not exactly.
At the spry age of 33 years-old, Encarnacion still believes he can be a valuable asset in the field for years to come. He noted, “I don’t want to be a full-time DH because I’m still young and I know I can still play good defense.”
Over the last four years he has split time, almost down the middle, between 281 starts at First and 272 at DH since 2012, according to Mr. Bradford. However, he has been getting more and more starts at the DH position and has reached out to Ortiz to pick his brain about the spot.
“I talked to him about DH’ing and I asked him what he does after he hits,” Encarnacion said. “He said you just have to go inside the room, watch the game, watch the pitcher and don’t be swinging too much in the cage because you’re going to get tired. Just get loose and get ready to go.”
Encarnacion added onto his praise of Ortiz by saying, “When I first started playing DH the one person I asked about doing it was David Ortiz. He talked to me about it and I learned a lot about it, because it’s not easy to just being a DH.”
With Encarnacion going right to Ortiz to seek wisdom, it shows a connection and Ortiz could hint to targeting Encarnacion after he leaves as a sort of a parting gift.
It will be a story line worth following as there will most definitely be a new designated hitter in Boston, Encarnacion just may be the name penciled into the lineup card.