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Ferguson: Many reasons why Big Papi won't be in Jays uniform

Scott Ferguson
9/17/2012 12:04:51 PM
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Around the all-star break, Jose Bautista suggested that he'd love to see his friend and Dominican countryman David Ortiz in a Blue Jays uniform next season, giving the club the left-hand power bat it so sorely needs.
 
It's a good thought. However, there are about a dozen reasons it won't happen.

First off, the nature of the position has changed somewhat. Most teams seem to prefer rotating players through the DH slot, either to give them a bit of a break or to rest nagging injuries that they can still play through at that spot.
 
Kansas City, the White Sox and Boston (when Ortiz is healthy) are the only teams that seem to use one player out of the DH slot consistently. Bill Butler still plays a bit of first base for the Royals, Adam Dunn is almost solely a DH with the White Sox, and "Big Papi" would only play first base in an emergency.
 
Ortiz is out right now with a strained Achilles tendon that might cost him the rest of the season. He did put up some solid numbers this year, with 23 homers and 60 RBI's to go with a .318 batting average. In fact, you could argue he has become a more selective and effective hitter over the last two seasons. His walks equal his strikeouts at 134 apiece over 2011 and 2012.
 
Ortiz will be 37 in November and has expressed a desire to stay in Boston, as long as the Bosox go out in the offseason and add the pieces that can make them a contender again.
 
Last off season, Ortiz was upset when he couldn't land a multi-year contract and wound up back in Boston on a one-year deal worth a little over $14.5 million. This time he is suggesting a two-year deal might be enough to get him to stay put.
 
As much as the fans would love to see "Big Papi" in Toronto, the Jays would probably be better off acquiring a more athletic left fielder that could also DH if needed.
 
The Blue Jays went down the "older" DH road in 2007 with a 39-year-old Frank Thomas. The "Big Hurt" gave them a decent first season with 26 homers and 95 runs batted in to go with a .277 average, but he was released after just 16 games the following season.
If the Blue Jays are going to spend significant money in the offseason, it has to go into starting pitching.
 
This season, only three teams have managed to get through the season using just six starting pitchers. Those three -  St. Louis, Cincinnati and San Francisco - are all holding playoff positions right now and two, the Reds and Giants, are division leaders.
 
St. Louis only has a one-game lead on the Dodgers for the season wild card spot in the National League. However, the Cards' next nine games are against the Cubs and the Astros. They should also get a boost from the return of former Jays righty, Chris Carpenter, when he returns from a season-long stint on the DL to face the Cubs this Friday.
 
The Dodgers are having a Jays-like run of injuries to their starting rotation.  Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly are already gone for the season and it appears Clayton Kershaw could be as well.
 
If there was one free agent outfielder the Blue Jays should look at it's the Braves' Michael Bourn. He can fly and he would give the Jays the type of leadoff hitter they need, so they can drop Brett Lawrie down a bit in the order.
 
Omar Vizquel is already a lock for the Hall of Fame, but it really will be something at 45 if he passes Babe Ruth on the all-time hit list. Omar needs just one more hit to tie the Bambino for 41st place with 2,873.
 
I find it almost amazing that Omar is only 13 hits behind a current Yankee, Alex Rodriguez, who's in 37th place. Omar might get his shot Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium against Andy Pettitte.



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