|Kevin Millar on M&M: Red Sox ‘have to pay’ David Ortiz||07.06.12 at 1:20 pm ET|
MLB Network analyst and former Red Sox first baseman Kevin Millar joined Mut & Merloni for his weekly Friday afternoon appearance, saying the Red Sox should offer David Ortiz a new contract. To hear the interview, visit the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
“If you’re the Red Sox you have to pay him,” Millar said. “If not, let him walk and see where he goes. He’ll end up in pinstripes, hitting homers against you for a couple of years. It’s the way it is.”
Millar called Ortiz one of the best designated hitters in the league, saying Ortiz can earn up to $14.5 million next year.
“How many years do we have to sit here and watch Big Papi dominate the DH role,” Millar said. “Only [he can] tap out 352 homers on the DH role, most ever. I don’t want to hear, ‘He’s a year older,’ even though it’s a fact. Other guys are getting long-term deals until they’re 43 and 44.”
Millar said it’s not accurate to say Ortiz is putting up big numbers because he is playing for a new contract, as Ortiz is putting similar numbers to what he has in the past.
“He goes out and tries hitting homers and drives in runs every single at-bat,” Millar said. “You know what kind of person you’re dealing with, and that’s the thing. Let’s not play games with David Ortiz, please. And if you do, that’s OK, it’s a big boy world. … That’s OK. Swallow your pride and let him go on.”
The Red Sox are set to open a four-game set against the Yankees. With Boston 7½ games behind New York, Millar stressed the importance of the series.
“[The rivalry is] a little bit mellow right now, but the Red Sox have a lot of injuries,” Millar said. “They don’t have their full squad back. … You have to play well if you’re the Red Sox. If they come in and at worst case they get swept and [are] over 10 games out going into the break, that’s going to stink.”
Added Millar: “They have to find a way to play [well]. [The Red Sox] have to show that they can compete with this club because the Yankees basically now have taken themselves [and] have stretched themselves out, I think, to the best club in that American League East.Millar said Josh Beckett needs to pitch well at the series start, but that’s just one key for Boston to be successful against the Yankees.
“The one thing about the Yankees [is] they hit home runs,” Millar said. “They have to find a way, when they give up home runs, make them solo home runs. If you’re going to give up a long ball, let’s stay away from a three-run jack. This team is set to hit homers and drive in runs from their homers. They don’t give you that 12th at-bat generally speaking with runners on base. It’s all or nothing.”
Added Millar: “Robinson Cano right now, I don’t pitch to him. Get your hands out. Let Mark Teixeira beat you, let Alex Rodriguez beat you. I won’t even fish-eye Robinson Cano from the on deck-circle. Just stay away from him.”
Millar also defended Kevin Youkilis following his trade to the White Sox.
“If the playoffs are starting tomorrow, Youkilis is my third baseman,” Millar said. “That’s what I’m talking about, the long-term issue. I’m not talking about short-term, guy goes 27-for-34. I’m talking about the long-term issue. Kevin Youklis hits behind David Ortiz first game of the World Series, so that’s what I was thinking.
“He wasn’t ready to be a bench player to Will Middlebrooks and [it was] well deserved. That was the biggest thing I had to battle. Once you get to a point of 37, 38 [years old] then you accept that role. Kevin Youkilis is a starting major league player right now in his career.”
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