As the Boston Red Sox prepare for their upcoming campaign, their arrival at camp this year is very different compared to their previous ones. There is one missing great presence. For the first time in well over a decade of baseball, the Red Sox are entering Spring Training without their star David Ortiz.
Boston had a special time come to an end last season, their Ortiz days. He announced that he would be leaving baseball. It was not a bombshell announcement to the team, he let the Red Sox know months ahead of time.
In their 2016 season, the Red Sox slowly watched Ortiz approach his final at bat. His last appearance did not happen in the regular season. Fittingly, Ortiz helped carry the Red Sox to yet another postseason appearance, the ALDS against the Cleveland Indians.
This time Ortiz could not take the Red Sox to another World Series, as Boston was eliminated in the ALDS, but he has already done enough for the franchise. Winning three World Series with the Red Sox, he has already taking the team a distance. In addition to that he ended his last season with incredible numbers at the plate.
Ortiz did not leave the Red Sox to pick up the pieces. He left them at a point in time in which the Red Sox were more prepared than ever to recover from an Ortiz retirement. They have more than a handful of players that they can build a future with.
The Boston Red Sox will not have to look far for a replacement player in the designated hitter slot. They have one to potential player to turn to in Hanley Ramirez. There may be no better man on the roster to do the job.
Walking into the Red Sox clubhouse Thursday morning wearing an Ortiz shirt, Ramirez may be one of Ortiz biggest fans. He will be preparing to fill in his shoes for the Red Sox. He will be likely taking on the designated hitter duties.
He may not have the same amount of success in his career as his former teammate, but one thing he has a lot of is power. Ramirez has demonstrated that for the Boston Red Sox in his past few seasons. He has become another one of their most clutch hitters.
Ramirez said that he and Ortiz had done some talking through the off-season, according to the Boston Herald. He even teased Ortiz returning saying that if he elected to come back he would gladly switch back to left field, his former position and hand over Ortiz the DH slot.
The Red Sox had their postseason cut short last year, and are facing life without Ortiz for the first time, but it may not all be bad. With some new members of their pitching staff, and a team that thrives to be the best they may be in no better position.
How long will Ramirez serve as the Boston Red Sox DH? Is an Ortiz return out of question? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Commentary by Cody Macleod