David Ortiz Remains Last Link to Past Success of Red Sox as Contract Situation Looms in Offseason

David Ortiz Remains Last Link to Past Success of Red Sox as Contract Situation Looms in OffseasonThe Red Sox seem to be focusing on their future as the 2012 season winds down, with young players getting a chance to prove themselves night in and night out for the team.

One big piece of their future remains in doubt, however, with David Ortiz on the bench nursing an injured Achilles' heel.

While he hopes to play again this season, the prospects seem bleak at that happening, since Boston doesn't want to risk his long-term health. His long-term future with the Sox, however, will be an issue to be addressed this offseason.

Big Papi is not under contract past this season, and has made his desire for a long-term deal with the Red Sox clear time and time again. This picture of him at the Tim Wakefield ceremony earlier this year serves as a reminder that Ortiz really is the last link to the two World Championships in Boston, and hopefully he will be here for the next few years.

David Ortiz Remains Last Link to Past Success of Red Sox as Contract Situation Looms in Offseason

Who do you think will win the
American League East this year, the Yankees or the O's?

— Kevin Lavey Sr.

Neither. I am picking the Rays to
make a run. I think their pitching is going to carry them down the stretch. I
think the injuries to Mark Teixiera and to Nick Markakis are big deals for both
the Yankees and Orioles. I think the Yankees will end up with a wild card birth
and obviously anything can happen in one game. Every time I want to discount
the Orioles, though, they step up. So stay tuned and I am thinking Joe Maddon will find
a way again to win the division.

What do the Sox need to do in the
offseason to prevent 2013 from being a total disaster like 2012?

— Scott C. Sirois

It's hard to control health, but they
obviously need to be healthier than they were in 2012. I also am a believer
that they will be very busy during the offseason and will likely use some of
the money they saved on the big deal with the Dodgers to bring in some free
agents. I think the deals will be less lengthy than the previous deals handed out, since the Red Sox have learned a lot from the past few years. I think the new
model of Red Sox baseball will be a few free agents mixed in with homegrown talent. That said, a front-line pitcher has to be on the wish list.

Do you think John Farrell is a real
option next year or just a bunch of talk? Wouldn't the Jays want to pluck
prospects or other compensation for him, and would it be worth the price?

— Neil Axelrod

I think it is an option and would
require a few things. First I do not think it is a slam dunk that Bobby
does not return next year. He could be back with a clean slate and the
roster he planned on having — or at least one that resembles this year's. Second, the Blue
Jays would have to waive a clause they have in John Farrell's contract preventing lateral moves. I do
think they will be looking for compensation that may be more than the Red Sox
want to part with. He would be a good fit here, though. His
understanding of the situation in Boston and certainly the pitching staff means he would be confident in his leadership.

Is David Ortiz going to be offered a
multiyear contract?

— Samuel Tripp

I think he will be. The numbers may not
be to his liking but I do not think there will be too many teams lining up to sign
him for more than his worth. I think his situation is much like what Derek Jeter's
was with the Yankees. He is more likely to get more money and years from the
Red sox than any other team, because of his value to the Red Sox on and off the
field. I am very hopeful that they get something done that is at least two
years in length. Big Papi is now the face of the franchise on and off the field and
truly the last link to the past success here. To lose David would be to lose
part of the franchise. He proved again this year when healthy he is a force and
it became very clear in his absence even more so.

Will Jacoby Ellsbury bounce back
from his bad performance this year?

— Josh Bergeron

I do think so. He has a lot to play for next
year as he will be a free agent after next season. I think he will have a
monster year and the Red Sox should benefit from his personal goals as a team.
It is not unusual to have a great player go off in a contract year. I think he
will. The remaining question is whether the Sox can sign him to a deal or chose
to trade him prior to the end of the year knowing that it could be too
difficult to get done.

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