Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here... highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
As Fred McGriff, Darrell Evans, Carlos Delgado, Dave Kingman, Jeff Bagwell, and others will attest, hitting 400 home runs doesn’t guarantee a spot in Cooperstown.
It does, however, represent a pretty impressive milestone, especially for a guy who was traded by the Mariners to the Twins, and eventually released because he was viewed as a platoon player about to make too much money for the Minnesota payroll.
For David Ortiz, who was at 399 entering Thursday night’s game against Seattle, what is also remarkable about the feat is the way he has approached his status as a baseball senior citizen. He has decided that he is going to play harder than ever, and not pace himself as most 36-year-old players tend to do.
He does not want to “pick his spots” but rather play hard all the time, run the bases aggressively, take care of his body, and play out the final two years of his career at the top of his game, not just going through the motions.
At 36, he is the Red Sox’ best offensive player. Still.
In fairness, it's a lot easier to not "pick spots" and to "play hard all the time" at age 36 when you're exclusively DH'ing. Of all the things we can applaud Ortiz for (and there's a whole slew of them), his ability to not mail in games or at-bats isn't anywhere near the top.
Cafardo does a good job of touching on all points of the David Ortiz experience. He questions whether or not Papi will ever sniff the Hall of Fame, touches on his leadership role in the Sox clubhouse, his 'no fun' rant, and his desire, and inability, to land a multi-year contract from the Sox.
As far as the Hall of Fame is concerned, I am a complete homer, so I fully think Papi deserves it. Not only is he an amazing slugger, he's a unique, bigger-than-the-game personality. That said, I don't expect to see him enshrined in Cooperstown. Edgar Martinez is on the outside looking in, and he's generally considered the gold standard of DH's. Hall of Fame voters very rarely buck trends. If they don't think a "one-dimensional player" deserves to be enshrined, no "one-dimensional players" shall be enshrined. That said, Martinez, while being an amazing hitter, didn't have nearly the amount of power Papi possesses; not to mention the flair and charisma. In 725 fewer at-bats Ortiz already has 90 more home runs and 50+ more RBIs than Martinez, while their other numbers (outside of batting average) are surprisingly even. If Ortiz can produce at this level for two more seasons, I think you can throw the Martinez comparison out the window and judge Papi as his own, unique player.
But before we worry ourselves with post-career recognition, let's just make sure the Sox finally offer him that two-year deal he so desperately craves. Can we finally admit that he's worth the "risk"?
Rest of the links:
Herald - Mariners get drop on Sox | Aaron Cook's ready to serve |Jarrod Saltalamacchia thrives in his expanded role | Globe -Iglesias back in for Pawtucket | Sox lose heartbreaker on Jaso walkoff single | CSNNE - Pedroia: Hernandez 'was pretty special tonight' | First Pitch: Sox find a winner in Morales | WEEI - Five things we learned on another memorable night for Franklin Morales | Red Sox sign Andy LaRoche | Bard: Can't worry about returning to Red Sox