Saturday, 29 October 2011

Big Papi could bring Big Return

David Ortiz
Photo by Keith Allison licensed by Creative Commons
With news coming out today regarding impending free agent David Ortiz and the Blue Jays, it has got a lot of people in Toronto talking about Big Papi as a possibility in Toronto. He's big, he's friendly, and he is exactly what Toronto needs, that big left handed bat. He has the obvious connections to the Jays with John Farrell having been the pitching coach over in Boston and Jose Bautista being among his best friends in the MLB, which only betters the odds of dealing getting done. Still, Ortiz may not be that true marquee free agent that many Toronto fans are looking for, but if the Jays can't or won't get a Fielder or Pujols, Ortiz is a very nice backup option. He has the potential to be as good a hitter, will command a much better contract (for the Jays), and could end up being the better long term option.

This year Ortiz took a big step up in his production after a couple lackluster seasons with the Red Sox. He went from 0.3 fWAR and 2.6 fWAR seasons in '09 and '10 to a vintage Ortiz 4.2 fWAR season. That number is only ~1 win behind Fielder and ~2-4 wins behind Pujols depending on your thoughts on him going forward. Added on to that with Fielder and Pujols you get a little more certainty of production as they have put up fairly consistently good numbers over the past three years, but the difference that you get between Ortiz and the other two players is good, but is not worth the extra $10 million dollars in the average annual salary that it will take to sign one of the two.

Obviously Ortiz isn't and won't be of the same calibre a player as Pujols or Fielder, but the length and value that the Jays will get out of a contract with Ortiz makes him much more appealing. What we do know is that Pujols is pushing for a 10 year $300 million deal and Fielder is looking to beat Mark Teixeira's 8 year $180 million deal with the Yankees, either of those guys could become an albatross contract for the Blue Jays. On the other hand Ortiz is looking for a much more reasonable 3 year offer at an average annual value of a third of what Pujols is asking for. The added benefit of a possible Ortiz signing is that if he is only signed for those two years then the Blue Jays would be able to make a serious run at Joey Votto when he is a free agent in 2014. Votto being a player that the Jays have coveted for a while and would likely make a run at if they didn't have another highly paid first basemen, such as Fielder or Pujols.

Some Jays fans are pointing to Frank Thomas as a comparable for a possible Ortiz signing and they are right there is a few similarities. Both were seeking two year contracts and both are DHs at this point in their careers, but the similarities end there. First when Thomas signed his contract with the Jays he was 39 and right now Ortiz is only 36. Second when the Jays signed Thomas he was just coming off a good year, but for him a good year meant only a 2.7 fWAR. That 2.7fWAR is roughly the same as Ortiz's lead-up season and 1 and half wins away from Papi's WAR this year. Thus you can in no way compare the two players, it is a situation to situation basis and is really no different from comparing Darvish to Dice-K, it can't be done.

Soon enough we will see what really happens with Ortiz as the offseason officially commences at 12:00 AM on Sunday, but it seems like a reasonable belief that the Jays will at least be in on Ortiz. He may cost a first round pick by that time, but the Jays have two first rounders in 2012 and can easily get first round value out of any of their picks in the first 3 rounds barring any changes to the CBA. I'd like to see the Jays take a shot at Ortiz, he'd be an excellent stop gap while the Jays young players develop and gives them a shot at Votto in 2014. It would be a "win now" move to many of the Jays fans asking for such and would certainly shut many of them up for the foreseeable future. It is a win-win-win move and would be well responded by this Jays fan and hopefully many others feel the same.

Follow me on Twitter @HouseOfTheBB and voice your opinion in the comments below


  1. As long as Lind is not hitting clean up. I'm good with anything.

  2. I refuse to believe that the jays would entertain the thought of signing a aging one-dimensional player. By all accounts they are going young and that is the direction they should maintain. How about Snider as the full time DH? It's about time we give the kid every opportunity to succeed or fail.

  3. pass, Jays have lots of options that can DH and that can play a position if they need so don't bother locking your self down with an ageing one dimensional over priced DH

  4. Fair opinions for both of you, I myself understand he is an aging player and I don't think we need a dh or 1b now but it would be move that would please many of the jays fans without wrecking their potential future

  5. Tells-it-like-it-is16 February 2012 at 17:47

    Ortiz not worth the loss of a pick, sorry. Also, Ortiz MASHED at home (Fenway with) a 172 wRC+, 40 points higher than his away. Add to that the fact that players generally outperform in contract years and his age (decline) and Ortiz is not worth the 11 mill per it will take, and ABSOLUTLEY not if it means losing our draft pick.

  6. Interesting thought on the snider aspect, but if anyone is to dh and it isn't kind or EE then it will probably e Thames not snider

  7. Word going around is that Ortiz will demand close to the $14MM he was making with Boston, if not more. After the season he just had, which even you admitted was a lot better, Ortiz is not too keen on taking a paycut. No sir.

    Ortiz is a risk, especially considering his age. I don't want the Jays taking that kind of risk, not when there are better, younger players on the market. If Ortiz isn't willing to take a paycut, the Jays should stay far, far away from him.

  8. I somewhat agree with you, but even despite what Ortiz is looking for if you look at conparables and how guys are doing in this years market he probably won't make that much, also of he's offered Arb I think there is a chance he might take it

  9. I personally don't think Ortiz will command that much, but with that said if he did I sure wouldn't want the Jays being the ones paying it