|Twins GM Terry Ryan on releasing David Ortiz: ‘Obviously it was a mistake . . . and Boston’s gain’||02.04.16 at 2:19 pm ET|
Terry Ryan is one of the most respected general managers in baseball, but even the best make mistakes.
The Twins GM’s is obvious: David Ortiz.
Before the 2003 season, Ryan famously released Ortiz in order to take shortstop Jose Morban in the Rule 5 draft. With Ortiz winding down a potential Hall of Fame career this weekend, Ryan reflected to MLB.com on the biggest mistake he ever made.
“There’s no hiding that one,” Ryan told the site. “You can put that one in there and lock it down. I’m not running from it. I’m proud of what he’s done. Obviously, it was a mistake. The guy has been a great representation of the Boston Red Sox and Major League Baseball for a long time. And it’s Boston’s gain and Minnesota’s loss. And I take full responsibility.”
Not only did Morban never appear in a game for Minnesota, he didn’t even make it through spring training, departing to the Orioles on waivers.
The decision to release Ortiz was driven by economics, as most decisions were back then in small-market Minnesota. He was due roughly $2 million in arbitration, and the Twins had Doug Mientkiewicz at first and Justin Morneau in the pipeline.
Ortiz, who had battled injury during his tenure, was reluctantly deemed expendable, despite compiling an .809 OPS in parts of six seasons with the Twins.
“There wasn’t any one thing,” Ryan told MLB.com. “If you look at his numbers across the board, they were very respectable. And not that it was totally about money, but we were a little bit strapped. That would be a good excuse, but it wasn’t that entirely. It was just a bad error in judgment of a guy’s talent. How about a mistake?”
The Red Sox remain thankful to this day.
|Red Sox’ custom car guy: ‘It’s like a competition between all of them’||01.31.16 at 2:45 pm ET|
Done for Pablo Sandoval pic.twitter.com/fwM0Cb1iiM
— Alex Vega (@TheAutoFirm) July 21, 2013
Alex Vega, owner and operator of The Auto Firm near Miami, has been in the news lately thanks in large part because of the article in the New York Times, chronicling his work on cars for more than 300 professional athletes.
Appearing on WEEI with Rob Bradford, Butch Stearns and John Tomase, Vega elaborated on his business relationships with his professional athlete clientele.
“It’s mind-blowing to me sometimes because they buy a brand new car, make it really nice and then six, seven months down the line somebody else gets something similar and they want to up it,” Vega said. “It’s like a competition between all of them.”
Vega detailed some of the particulars in each of the cars he has worked on for Red Sox players:
– Castillo has a Porsche 911 Turbo that not only shoots flames out the back, but has his uniform number light up on the front of the car, and on the ground underneath vehicle when the doors are opened.
– Ramirez’ Lamborghini also has the ability to shoot flames out the back.
– Holt goes against the grain for most bringing in Jeeps, upgrading the look, but not altering the Jeep appearance.
– Sandoval? “Crazy. I love these guys. He’s just a unique guy. Spur of the moment type of guy. He showed up with two of his Range Rovers I built for him that I want to change up the rims for spring training. Next thing you know he sees a [Mercedes] G63 I have outside. He says, ‘Man I love that car,’ drives it, trades in one of the Range Rover, takes the [Mercedes] G-Wagon.” (The Times article has Sandoval quoted as saying he gets a new car every year.)
– Moncada not only is in the market for one of Vega’s customized, $175,000 vans, but already has a BMW which glows in the dark.
– While he hasn’t done anything for David Ortiz quite yet, Vega said he is currently working on reeling in the Red Sox’ DH. “We’re working on him right now, actually. We’re working on surprising the world with what he wants. ‘¦ He wants to leave with a bang, I guess.”
What kind of problems does Vega run into? Making it clear to his clients what is and isn’t street legal. “It happens a lot because I do a lot of cars for the Dominican Republic, different countries where they can have police lights and sirens. They don’t realize that’s something you can’t do in the States.”
|David Ortiz ready to teach Hanley Ramirez art of being DH||01.29.16 at 11:42 am ET|
Whether or not the first base switch works, Ramirez remains the No. 1 candidate to slide into the Red Sox‘ designated hitter spot once Ortiz retires.
That’s why the current DH is ready to offer some proactive advice.
“This year I’m going to talk to him about it and take him through things I normally like to do,” Ortiz said. “In case it happens, he will be ready for it. I’ve got no problem showing my boy anything that I know.”
Talking to reporters at last weekend’s Winter Weekend, it certainly didn’t seem like Ramirez was going to take offense to the idea he might slide over to DH a year from now.
“Hell, yeah,” Ramirez said when asked about his interest in potentially DHing. “When you’ve got two things to do, play defense and offense (versus) just sitting in the dugout, it’s a little different.”
Thus far in Ramirez’s career, the DH spot seems to fit him well.
In his 11 games as a designated hitter in 2015, Ramirez totaled a .295 batting average with five homers and a 1.001 OPS. For his career, the 32 year old has hit .316 with a .946 OPS in 25 games at the position.
Some factors to consider when playing out Ramirez’s potential move to first base is the development of Travis Shaw and/or Sam Travis, along with the Red Sox’ interest in Blue Jays first baseman/DH Edwin Encarnacion when/if he becomes a free agent after the ’16 season.
Until then, Ortiz believes Ramirez’s second season with the Red Sox will be a productive one — both while playing first and under the mentorship of the retiring DH.
“Hanley has the same personality that I have. He’s a lovely guy. He’s a guy who is noisy. He loves his teammates. He likes to have a good time. He loves the game,” Ortiz said.
“I definitely believe that he’s going to be OK. He’s going back to the infield. All he needs to learn is how to move around the bag, which isn’t anything that is impossible, and go from there.”
|David Ortiz is optimistic he will get into Hall of Fame, and he should be||01.07.16 at 11:53 am ET|
“I am,” said the Red Sox designated hitter when asked if he was optimistic he would eventually be inducted into Cooperstown. “I think I did, and still do, what I’m supposed to. So, that’s all I can control.
“Numbers-wise, it shouldn’t be a problem because that’s what the Hall of Fame is all about. Numbers and not being someone being part of controversy, so I guess on that side of it I think I’m doing OK. Getting in the Hall of Fame is not an easy thing to do. There is always going to be someone who has something to say, so we’ll see how that plays out.”
He’s right, numbers probably won’t be Ortiz’s roadblock.
Starting with my very unscientific approach to starting the Hall of Fame conversation for position players — charting how many times they finished in the Top 10 in MVP voting (showing a dominance in their era) — the DH passes muster, accomplishing the feat six times. Conversely, new-inducted Mike Piazza reached such levels seven times, while the guy just missing out this time around, Jeff Bagwell, was a five-timer.
We also know about the 503 homers, and, of course, the historic postseason success.
Ortiz’s hurdles will be his link to performance enhancing drugs (the 2003 survey test) and the position he plays, designated hitter.
Wednesday’s results offered some additional clarity when analyzing Ortiz’s chances.
Even though neither Piazza or Bagwell have no direct link to PEDs, the suggestion that they might have dipped into that well certainly has been the reason it took them so long to get this far in the voting. But here they are.
And even the guys Curt Schilling recently called the “poster children” for the steroid era, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, saw jumps after staying fairly stagnant in their first three years on the ballot. Each jumped about eight percent.
But, perhaps most important for Ortiz’s candidacy, was how Edgar Martinez was viewed by voters.
Frank Thomas is the only semblance of a designated hitter in the Hall of Fame, although he played almost as many games at first base. That has left Martinez — the player the award for best DH each season is named after — as the position’s current hope to crack the Hall.
But, for Martinez, it hadn’t been going well.
In six times on the ballot, he had yet to crack 36.5 percent, dropping to 27 percent last year. And this is a guy who carried a career .312 batting average and .933 OPS over an 18-year career.
But, presumably thanks to weeding out of some of the older voters, Martinez and the DH position took a big, 16.4 percent leap forward. He now stands at 43.4 percent. That, along with closer Trevor Hoffman getting a whopping 67.3 percent on his first try, was an enormous step toward silencing positional bias.
Here’s a guess: If Martinez cracks 50 percent — which it would seem a very real possibility — Ortiz isn’t weighed down by the position and he is in.
“I don’t know,” said Ortiz when asked if there would be another designated hitter to come along like himself. “They said the same thing about Edgar Martinez, that there wasn’t going to be another guy born to be that good and God blessed me for being who I am. So I don’t doubt that some point in baseball somebody else pops up like me, or better than me. That’s something that nobody can dictate.”
|David Ortiz explains why he is choosing to retire||12.03.15 at 8:49 pm ET|
Thursday night, David Ortiz offered some insight into his decision to call it quits after the 2016 season.
“t’s a process and not a decision you make from day to night,” he explained on the first night of his charity golf tournament at the Sanctuary Resort. “I had an injury in 2012 and since that injury, it’s you getting older, you have to do things differently so you can continue playing. I had the opportunity to continue playing all the games that I played after that because I prepared myself. Through that preparation, through that time, you start viewing things from a different perspective. That was my case. That’s why I said I had time to view things before I made the decision.
“All the time you have with your family and everyone around you, the people that work with you, they pretty much see your situation and see what your thoughts are and everybody supported you. In my case, like I said, I had the opportunity to think about it for a long time and it is what it is. I know I feel good. I know things are going well. I had a good season last year and I’m definitely going to pull myself together to have another good one this year. That was my decision and it is what it is.”
Ortiz did explain that there was not one single moment or instance when the decision was definitively made.
“I pretty much was thinking about it for a while and I had the opportunity to take my time to do it and once you take your time,” he said. “I think there’s no regrets.”
That was, of course, in large part because of their well-publicized feud.
But now? In the world of big league baseball, becoming teammates have a way of changing the dynamic.
“No, you know, since that incident happened [in 2014, when Price hit Ortiz in the back], we pretty much kind of shut it down,” Ortiz said at the opening of his annual celebrity golf tournament at the Sanctuary Resort. “He’s not a bad guy. I know him from before. Things happen in the game, but that doesn’t mean that’s how you are. Our adrenaline kicks in on the field. We all have the purpose of what we want to do on the field. You make up your mind from there, but that doesn’t dictate what kind of person you are. If you go around the league, you hear a lot of people saying good things about him. I know we have our moments. Like I say, it’s time to turn the page. We’re teammates now. We’ve got to be on the same page if we want to win ball games, definitely.”
It was a sentiment that Ortiz passed on to the Red Sox decision-makers when they called the designated hitter to inform him of the organization’s pursuit of Price.
“Yeah, at some point the Red Sox asked me about and I told them I got no problem with it,” Ortiz said. “All that matters to me is winning and I know that him being on our side, we’re going to win ball games. I have no problem with that.”
Some of those seen in the early stages of the Ortiz event were former Celtic Ray Allen, former Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks, former Patriot Troy Brown and former NESN sideline reporter Jenny Dell.
|David Ortiz on David Price rivalry: ‘Leave the past in the past’||12.02.15 at 12:55 pm ET|
When news broke that David Price had agreed to a seven-year deal with the Red Sox, it led to immediate concern among Red Sox Nation about how David Ortiz would react, considering the players’ rocky history over the past three years.
Ortiz alleviated those concerns Wednesday, insisting he’s ready to move on.
“No problems. All that’s in the past,” Ortiz said in an interview with radio station 102.5 FM in the Dominican Republic (via ESPN). “Now he is my partner. When a person joins your cause, you must leave the past in the past.”
In the 2013 postseason, Price objected to Ortiz taking his time to round the bases after a home run. The next time they faced each other, in May 2014 at Fenway Park, Price drilled Ortiz with a first-inning pitch. During a benches-clearing gathering later in the game — following another Sox batter (Mike Carp) being hit — Ortiz animatedly pointed and screamed at Price. After the game Ortiz referred to their dispute as “a war,” implied he would go after Price if he got hit again, and said, “I have no respect for him no more.” Price accused Ortiz of acting like he’s bigger than the game.
Ortiz now apparently is willing to forgive and forget in order to have a chance for another championship in his final season.
“That’s fine. We need pitching, and David Price is a great pitcher and has showed that for years,” Ortiz said. “I hope he will help us. It’s a marquee pitcher, and that’s what we need.”
|David Ortiz lending out locker to Torii Hunter’s son||11.20.15 at 7:52 am ET|
The pair go all the way back to the early 1990’s, when both were breaking into professional baseball with the Minnesota Twins. So it should be no surprise that when afforded the opportunity to make the son of his buddy feel at home this weekend, Ortiz jumped at the chance.
— Ryan Grooms (@NDFBEquipment) November 19, 2015
Torii Hunter Jr., a wide receiver for the Notre Dame football team, will be joining his Fighting Irish in taking on Boston College at Fenway Park Saturday night. He is afforded a spot in the home clubhouse/locker room, of course, because Notre Dame has been designated the host team.
|Source: David Ortiz decision didn’t alter Red Sox offseason plans||11.18.15 at 2:49 pm ET|
The assumption is that Hanley Ramirez, who is slated to play first base in ’16, will be sliding into the designated hitter spot once Ortiz retires. One school of thought was that the Red Sox might be more willing to not try and deal Ramirez knowing that his glove would only be needed potentially one more year.
There was also the possibility that the Red Sox might take advantage of the current market to get a jump start on replacing Ortiz in the lineup a year from now. One very outside the box scenario would have the Sox pursue free agent Chris Davis, who could play left field for a year before sliding to first in 2017. That doesn’t seem likely considering the organization’s unwillingness to sacrifice outfield defense for a second straight year.
If the Red Sox did feel the need to start an influx of offense, knowing their best hitter was in his last season, a trade could be made involving Jackie Bradley Jr. (who continues to draw significant interest throughout baseball) free up room for free agent outfielder Alex Gordon.
That could still very well be a scenario that unfolds, but if it does it won’t be in response to the Ortiz news.
If the Red Sox do wait until next offseason to replace Ortiz’s bat, Toronto’s Edwin Encaracion would figure to be a prime target. The first baseman is in the last year of his contract. The 32-year-old, who was a favorite of Sox manager John Farrell during the pair’s time together in Toronto, finished ’15 with a .929 OPS, marking the fourth straight season he has eclipsed .900.
In case you forgot, Ortiz had the seventh-best OPS in the American League (.913) along with 37 home runs. Mookie Betts was the only Red Sox regular to claim an OPS over more than .800, finishing at .823.
Rob Bradford, John Tomase and Mike Mutnansky gathered together in the WEEI studios Tuesday night to discuss all the Hot Stove news of the week, most notably David Ortiz‘s impending retirement. The guys also talked Craig Kimbrel, free agents starters and everything else Red Sox offseason in Week 3 of the Hot Stove Show.
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