Red Sox Should Have Treated David Ortiz Like Mike Napoli

Jonathan CullenSenior Writer IMarch 10, 2013

David Ortiz isn't smiling after another setback in his rehab.
David Ortiz isn't smiling after another setback in his rehab.Elsa/Getty Images

David Ortiz will be shut down by the Boston Red Sox for a period of five to seven days in order to let both of his heels recover. This likely means Ortiz will miss the first couple of weeks of the season.

The news came down about Ortiz right after today's spring training game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

It creates more questions than answers about the Red Sox and their decision to re-sign Ortiz to a two-year contract worth $26 million this offseason.

The extension came on the heels of Ortiz missing 72 games last season due to an Achilles' heel strain, causing him to miss most of the second half. When healthy, Ortiz was extremely productive.

Ortiz also had to face accusations from former Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine that he quit on the team down the stretch once he realized Boston was playing out the string when he returned.

The way the Red Sox handled Ortiz's contract situation is in stark contrast to the way they dealt with Mike Napoli.

The Red Sox played hard ball with Napoli once his physical revealed he had a degenerative hip condition, causing Boston to back away from the three-year contract for $39 million they had verbally agreed upon.

The contract impasse with Napoli lasted for almost two full months before both sides finally came to an agreement on a one-year contract for $5 million.


Boston gave Napoli the chance to reach $8 million more in incentives to reach the $13 million per season that was part of the original agreement, but only for the one season.

In Napoli's case, the Red Sox were able to limit the potential risk for the team, short-term and long-term.

On the surface, the Red Sox certainly might have let sentiment enter into the decision to re-sign Ortiz to a two-year agreement when everything medically would have dictated that he should have been given a one-year deal with incentives.

It also raises questions about the Red Sox medical staff, again.

The medical staff obviously felt that signing the 31-year-old Napoli would be a big concern with the potential hip injury while green lighting the 37-year-old Ortiz's contract while he was in the midst of rehabbing a significant current injury.

It doesn't make a lot of sense, no matter how important Ortiz is to the recent history of the Red Sox.

This isn't a death knell to the 2013 season, but it won't help the Red Sox get off to the great start they desperately need this season.


Information used from Rob Bradford/WEEI, Ian Browne/, Matthew Pouliot/NBS Sports, Baseball Reference