If David Ortiz had his choice, it’s likely Edwin Encarnacion would be wearing a Boston Red Sox uniform in 2017.
Ortiz, who retired after the 2016 season, has advocated for Encarnacion to be his successor as Boston’s designated hitter on several occasions dating back to April. Encarnacion, one of the best free agents available, is positioned to land a big contract this offseason, but Ortiz views the longtime Toronto Blue Jays slugger as a unique talent capable of filling his void.
“You know what, though, the reality is, the way baseball is right now, when you have a guy like Edwin doing what he does, he can ask for whatever he wants,” Ortiz said Friday at his annual charity golf outing in the Dominican Republic, per WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. “Not everybody is hitting 40 bombs in the big leagues and doing all the damage that he’s doing. So if you’re going to recruit a guy like him, you know you’ve got to bring that money in.”
Ortiz also spoke highly of fellow free-agent slugger Carlos Beltran, who is coming off an impressive season with the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers despite being on the cusp of 40 years old. Many view Beltran as a more realistic option for Boston, seeing as how he’s a switch-hitter who will command a smaller contract on the open market.
But it still seems like Ortiz has eyes for Encarnacion, who turns 34 in January. Encarnacion slugged 42 home runs and tied Ortiz for the American League lead with 127 RBIs in 2016, and the three-time All-Star has shown no signs of slowing down.
“Edwin, he knows the American league,” Ortiz said, according to Bradford. “He knows that this division is a tough division to play in and what he does is guaranteed. It’s scary to think what he can do.”
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images
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