As almost everyone knows, David Ortiz is playing in his last season in the MLB. Last night, he took part in his tenth and final All Star Game. Ortiz is off to one of his best starts of his career batting .332 with 22 home runs and 72 RBIs. Numbers so good that it makes you think he could return for yet another season. But Ortiz always shrugs that aside.
After last nights All Star Game, Ortiz sat down for a twenty minute press conference and made some comments which maybe points to a baseball executive career after retirement. He openly wished that the Red Sox bring both Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Fernandez to Boston.
Encarnacion is currently the All Star DH for the Toronto Blue Jays, and will become a free agent after this season. When he replaced Ortiz in the third inning on first base, that got Ortiz thinking,
“The Red Sox know that they need to reinforce the middle of the lineup,” Ortiz said. “And sorry Blue Jays, but who better than Encarnacion to do that?”
If the Red Sox look to replace Ortiz in free agency, Encarnacion might be the best fit. His lowest home run total since 2012 is thirty four and looks like he will hit that number easily this year (already twenty three homers). When he heard about Ortiz's post game comments, he was quite flattered,
“It surprised me,” Encarnacion said. “But I feel great because people like David Ortiz are thinking about me like that. . . . I don’t think about that, and after the season, I’m going to see what’s going to happen.”
Ortiz also turned to the struggling Red Sox rotation with some ideas on how to improve it, drastically. He jumped right to Florida Marlins ace Jose Fernandez and made some interesting comments while doing so,
“He has incredible stuff,” Ortiz said of Fernandez. “I thought he was going to end up playing with me this year. I mean, you never know. I want him in my starting rotation. I mean, we need a little bit of help and hopefully that happens at some point, who knows?”
Fernandez who has been on record saying Ortiz is his favorite baseball player said he'd throw him nothing but fastballs in the All Star Game. But in their first time ever facing each other, Fernandez surprised his favorite player with a first pitch changeup,
“I’m nervous,” Fernandez said of how he felt. “I couldn’t believe that I was actually pitching to him. The fact that he was looking at me, smiling, we both knew what was going on.”
Fernandez did proceed to throw three straight fastballs but ending up walking Ortiz, where he was then lifted to a standing ovation. But that one at bat seemed special for the both of them,
“Pitchers always say that I’m going to throw you a fastball when I see you,” Ortiz said. “(New York Yankees closer Aroldis) Chapman told me the same thing and I’m like, ‘You throw 104 dude, what else can you throw?’ Yesterday we talked about it, me and my boy (Fernandez) were talking about it, when I first met him, what he told me kind of impact me. I saw . . . his whole history behind where he comes from, his family and everything, I was watching that at my house and I was crying like a little baby, man. It’s very (touching).
“He comes to me the other day and told me, ‘Hey, I have one jersey that I want to have in your house, it’s yours. It’s something that made me really, really happy.”
Ortiz had one big changeup to the Red Sox organization with this press conference: we need pitching help, go get Fernandez. And Ortiz already thought he'd be here by now. Dombrowski has addressed how to Red Sox need to add pitching, and Fernandez would be the perfect fit. But it sounds like a prayer. For a twenty three year old pitcher with a career 2.43 ERA any offer might have to start with Mookie Betts or Xander Bogaerts. But this is now the second time that a Red Sox associate talked about Fernandez and the Red Sox. Pedro Martinez tweeted how he could see Fernandez in a Red Sox uniform, but later was rebuked for tampering.
“It’s an honor,” Fernandez said. “I think a lot of people notice, see when I pitch that, I like to compete, I give my heart out there and I give everything that I have every time that I’m out. I love and respect this game, and I think wherever I’m going to be pitching, wherever I’m pitching for the rest of my career, anywhere that is, I’ll be doing the best that I can for my team to win.”
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