The Red Sox will not offer David Ortiz the most money to stay, that much is certain. Whether they'll offer him a contract at all, and whether he'll sign for short money to stay in Boston are separate issues entirely. My assumption is that because of Papi's status as a fan favorite, Theo will throw him a bone: a short contract for little money, with the understanding that he might no longer enjoy the everyday role he has occupied for the last few years. Will Ortiz take a deal like that, or will he take the money from some small market team who's so desperate for power that they'll take an aging slugger?
Of course, all of this is speculation based on the assumption that Ortiz will have a season similar to last year's. If he bursts out and has a great season, say goodbye. There's no way in hell that Theo will give big money to a one-dimensional slugger who will be at least thirty-six during the 2011 season (like all foreign born players, I take his age with a grain of salt). And if he does go elsewhere, what will that be like here in New England?
Four years ago, David signed an extension with the Red Sox, and, according to this story, he made the following comments:
"I can see as long as I've been here any time we walk away from a player or a player walks away from us, people feel that. I think our fans, they need to hear some good news, something nice coming through the organization. The past couple of years I think people were just getting annoyed with it. I'm pretty sure New England is going to take this as the good news. I want to finish my career as a Red Sox player."
We've heard all of that before... Of course, he was referring to the departure of the core 2004 championship teams, Johnny Damon specifically, but how badly does David Ortiz want to stay in a Red Sox uniform? Ortiz means so much to so many; everyone in Red Sox Nation has their own Papi story.
Many are related to the above video...
The first Red Sox shirt I ever purchased with money I earned myself was #34, and I still have it (it's a little small now). For the collective sanity of New England, I hope things come together so David can finish wear that same #34 until his playing days are over (which will likely be sooner than he thinks).
Every little bit helps, everyone!
Interestingly enough, this is my last blog post as a teenager. I'm glad Papi could be its topic.