Thursday, April 8, 2010

Does David Ortiz deserve the scrutiny he is receiving?

Does anyone besides me think the amount of scrutiny David Ortiz is receiving after starting the season 1-for-11 is ridiculous? The fact that Terry Francona has to announce that he is "standing pat" with David Ortiz before the third game of the season has me completely baffled.
There are players all over the major leagues who don't have a hit yet and they haven't received this kind of scrutiny, and one of them is even in New York, in the form of Mark Teixeira. I know that Ortiz had a horrible start to 2009, but does no one remember how his season ended? Using these ridiculously small sample sizes to judge him is idiotic, for lack of a better word.

As a Red Sox fan, I understand people worrying about David Ortiz's production, but it's gotten to a ridiculous level and I honestly don't blame him for his profanity-laden rant in response to questions about a "slump" after the second game of the season. It should be clear that David Ortiz still has something left in his bat after his June-October numbers last year, where he led the American League in Home Runs. Part of the reason for his poor start can probably be attributed to Francona opting to start Ortiz against Sabathia, which was probably primarily only done because it was Opening Night. Some thought Ortiz should be sat against Pettitte, but Ortiz actually has better numbers than the right-handed Lowell does against Pettitte. And, again, he DID have a hit in the series, against a left-hander no less. And, while he had his bad at-bats, that happens to everyone sometimes. He'll get there.

Anyway, I just don't understand the scrutiny he is receiving, especially because he ended last season on a high-note, not a low one. Give Ortiz at least until the end of April before you make judgments on him and ask him why he hasn't produced yet. It's a little hard to produce after only two games (which is when the question has been asked) in a game like baseball.

While I am mostly positive about Ortiz, I do think that in the event he continues to struggle horribly (which I don't think will happen, but it could) the Red Sox will either need to make Lowell a full-time DH (or at least mostly full time) or make a trade for a big bat like Adrian Gonsalez. The good news is that this year the REd Sox don't have to worry about the fact that they have Ortiz under contract for the next year, because next year they only have an option on him, so if he struggles greatly they will have no problem benching him.

Basically Red Sox fans, I'm saying not to worry about Ortiz yet, either because it's far too early or because the Red Sox will seek a suitable internal or external option to plug any type of hole a prolonged slump by Ortiz would create.


Steve said...

I thought it was ridiculous as well, despite how much I love watching him suffer :-D. I have to wonder if this is affecting the rumored trade talks that have started yet again between the Sox and Rangers for Lowell.

Jacob said...

I don't think Lowell gets traded to the Rangers even if Ortiz doesn't go into a prolonged slump, simply because the return isn't enough, and Lowell can be pretty valuable on the bench with his 1B/3B ability and mashing lefties ability.
That is, unless the Sox have another trade lined up that involves the money that trading Lowell frees up.