When David Ortiz speaks, people listen to what he’s saying.
For example his in-game dugout speech during game 3 of the 2013 World Series where he emphatically told his teammates to “relax and just play the way they knew how” helped lead to a comeback win.
In 2014, after Nelson Cruz had admitted to taking PED’s, Ortiz attempted to get the Red Sox to look into signing his friend to a contract. Speaking at the time to the Red Sox radio network, WEEI, Cruz said this regarding Ortiz’ recruitment:
“I mean, he doesn’t make the calls. I guess they listen to him because he’s been with the team for so long and he’s the face of the team, but at the same time it is the (general manager’s) and owners’ call.” – Nelson Cruz via NESN
Sadly, the Red Sox didn’t heed Ortiz’ recommendations and Cruz ended up joining the rival Orioles and then the Mariners, where he continued to crush Red Sox pitching.
Cruz is heading into his age 37 season and the final season on a four-year deal he signed in 2015. He played in 155 games, hitting an impressive .288 with 39 homers while driving in 119 all – higher than any member of the Red Sox lineup.
There is no question the Red Sox are trying to figure out their 1B / DH situation. They have been in contact with Carlos Santana, could pursue Eric Hosmer / JD Martinez, or pursue a cheap option like Yonder Alonso.
Acquiring Nelson Cruz could:
A. Potentially let Hanley play first base while splitting time at DH.
B. Allow the Red Sox to trade Hanley, freeing up DH for Cruz while acquiring a first baseman of lesser financial demand. Sam Travis could also see action at first base.
Acquiring Nelson Cruz may be a pipe dream, but if Dombrowski did splurge on the veteran power hitter, it would not only inject power into a starving Red Sox lineup, but add much needed veteran leadership to a young clubhouse.