Friday, August 25, 2006

Comments on David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez

David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez are two of the best hitters in baseball right now. I wouldn't argue too strongly against someone who ranks them #1 and #2. David Ortiz deserves to be in the MVP hunt, and I wouldn't have a problem if he was the frontrunner and won it - even if the Red Sox don't get into the playoffs. He's had an incredible season with some magical moments for his team.

There is one problem with David Ortiz though. He's a DH. No, I don't mean that he doesn't deserve to win the MVP because he's a DH. What I mean is that his team loses a small bit of value due to him being such a poor fielder. Let's take a look at two situations:

1. During the Red Sox/Yankee series, where they played 5 games in 4 days, the Yankees were able to put up their best lineup in every game, and yet subsequently 'rest' one player each game by rotating who was in the DH spot. Giambi is no wizard with the glove, but apparently he is either a lot better than Ortiz, or Torre has a more flexible mindset than Francona does.

Here are the Yankee DHs during the 5 game series
Friday G1: Giambi
Friday G2: Abreu (Giambi did not start, but he pinch hit and got in 3 plate appearances)
Saturday: Damon (Giambi at 1st and Abreu back in RF)
Sunday: Alex Rodriguez (Damon, Giambi and Abreu all played the field)
Monday: Jeter (Giambi sat against the lefty Wells)

So that's 5 different DHs in 5 games. Thus Torre was able to give several players a day off on the field. That's very useful in the dog days of summer.

2. Now let's take a look at the Ortiz/Ramirez scenario.
Manny has been hurting. He's got some leg issues. I don't buy this crap about him pretending to have an injury due to a bad scoring decision that made a possible hit into an error. I do believe he really has some leg problems and he's hurting. He could probably still hit, it's just the toll of playing the field is getting to him a bit. Well, it's too bad they can't DH him and let him take a short rest off the field. Why not put Ortiz in 1B for a game or two so you can still get in Manny's bat? I think the reason is that Ortiz could be such an atrocious fielder that he never crosses the manager's mind to put him on the field in a AL game. And that hurts their team as a whole.

In summary, should Ortiz be a front runner for AL MVP even if the Red Sox don't make the playoffs? In my mind, YES, absolutely. He's been terrific, put up incredible numbers and at all the right times. All Yankee fans are scared to death to see him at bat in late inning situations, even against the invincible Mariano Rivera. However, with that said, there is one little drawback. He doesn't allow the Red Sox to have flexibility due to his horrible fielding, and people need to acknowledge that instead of piling on Manny Ramirez every freaking day.

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