It’s the most wonderful time of the year. It’s the, typically, yearly discussion where we all gather around the fire and discuss the life and times of David Ortiz; more specifically, why in the world the Twins would have let him go for free during the Winter Meetings between the 2002 and 2003 seasons.
Everyone knows the argument on both sides like the back of their own hands by now. Those who argue Ortiz should have been kept point to the success he’s had since joining the Boston Red Sox, those who argue that his release was legitimate say he was injury-prone, a defensive liability and not a clutch hitter. That’s the argument in a nutshell.
The argument got fired up again on Wednesday whenPatrick Reusse, a personal hero of mine, wrote a column about it for the Star Tribune. At six o’clock on Wednesday night, the column had 107 comments on the Strib’s website.
The David Ortiz debate gets people talking.
As Reusse points out, a major reason for Ortiz’s release was the heightened salary he would have received in 2003. Ortiz made less than a million in 2002, that would have ballooned to two million-plus after arbitration.
Two million is not a lot of money to a baseball team or at least most baseball teams. It was a healthy amount to a team stuck in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.
For two million dollars should the Twins have brought back David Ortiz? Sure, there’s no question now, but hindsight is 20/20.
Let’s say the Twins did bring Ortiz back for that two million and he found the stride he has found in Boston. In the not too distant future from that point, the Twins wouldn’t have been able to afford Ortiz anymore.
Here is the question Twins fans should really be asking themselves: Would the addition of a Boston-like David Ortiz been enough for the Twins to get past the Yankees in the 2003 and/or 2004 playoffs?
Throw out Matt LeCroy, put in David Ortiz. Does that get the Twins past the Yankees or to the World Series or do the Twins still lose in the first round?
It’s a fun game to play.
What’s past is past. One thing is almost for certain: David Ortiz would not currently be a Twin, his price tag would be way too high even for the Target Field Twins.
That being said, if David Ortiz had been in Minnesota two more years, the Lynx might not be the only team in Minnesota that has won a world championship during this millennium.