For 13 years David Ortiz was the man in the middle of the Red Sox lineup, providing the clutch hit or the big speech when needed. For instance, when the team returned from Cleveland after the Marathon bombings, issuing, “This is our BLEEP” city and nobody’s going to dictate our freedom.”
When David Ortiz retired after last season, Red Sox fans knew that they were going to be missing not only a HUGE part of their lineup, but the big power hitter that would bring fear to the opposing team’s manager and pitchers.
Entering the offseason, there were rumors including those from Ortiz himself saying that Edwin Encarnacion would be the perfect replacement for him. However, as the off-season dragged on the Red Sox never truly did get into the Encarnacion sweepstakes, and he ended up signing a three year deal with Cleveland. Instead, Mitch Moreland was signed for one year and he quickly became a decent addition to the lineup reaching career highs in doubles, walks, homers this past season.
The explanation that Dombrowski gave at the time for not signing Encarnacion was that he didn’t want to spend extra money as well as potentially blocking young talent like Sam Travis who he believed has potential to be a potential 1st baseman/DH type. The other explanation given was that also said he didn’t want to go over the 195 million dollar tax threshold, which if done would have more serious repercussions for the team’s ownership in future seasons.
So we entered the season wondering where the power would come from. Perhaps it would be Mookie, Xander, JBJ, who had taken major steps forward all took steps back minus Mookie who led the team in homers with 25 and RBI’s with 102. Hanley never really did much in the power or runs driven in department, while Mookie ended up leading the team with 24 homers despite battling shoulder issues all season long.
So when the playoffs started, many wondered just how this team was going to be able to outscore a Houston team that was loaded. So far they’ve scored a total of 4 runs being outscored 16-4 in the two games. They have 4 doubles and NO home runs.
If they end up losing to Houston they are going to need to look at acquiring a power bat to help this team next season.
Having a power threat in the lineup was one of the reasons that the Red Sox had such success with Ortiz for so many years. So whether Dombrowski spends the money on Eric Hosmer / JD Martinez or trades for a bat, it is clear that power is necessary.