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The Papi Problem

The Sox obviously face a serious dilemma in the person designated hitter David Ortiz.

My feeling is that Ortiz is still physically and mentally capable of hitting well - not great, but well. That said, it might still be time for Papi. He might be done.

The Sox should lower Papi in the order (done) and let him play most every day in June. If by the end of the month - or before if the Sox free fall because of an anemic offense - Papi is still not hitting, then the Sox need to give one month to the internal-organizational solutions available.

To be fair to a possible replacement, the Sox should let him (or them) have a month before the July trading deadline to establish themselves. If that does not work, the Sox should look for a trade of some value (best option for me would be trading a high-value prospect for one and a half years of Adam Dunn).

As for Papi, we all obviously love the guy and want him to succeed. And I for one still think he can. But I'm not sure I think he will.

Watching his swing, Papi seems to be letting the fastball get too deep on him. He's not out front, jumping on fastballs. Also, his follow through extension is not high and pronounced like the old days. That said, he's bringing his hands in and through the zone well recently, hitting a few fastballs very hard against the Jays and Tigers.

If by July 1, Papi is not hitting at all still, they go to plan B. And by the way, he will simply not get hot enough to raise his numbers to anything respectable after going more than 200 at bats as simply terrible. That is, at the end of the month we should look at the one month split. If that's better than the alternatives, keep him in the line up batting 6th or 7th.

If he flounders through June, Papi should be put on the DL somehow. They should give one month to Chris Carter. He can hit and can't field. He's a lefty and, against lefties, this scenario would give DH at bats to Rocco B. and Lowell.

After that July expariment, as we close in on the trading deadline, the Sox will have three choices: keep Carter (or Bailey) as the DH, bring back Papi for one last shot, or look at a major trade.

Let's hope Papi can come around. I'm still saying there's a chance.


P.S. Mark Kotsay, a good back-up outfielder and first baseman, and a lucky man, is a terrible option here, despite what Toni Massarotti seems to think. First, he has no pop and doesn't even hit for that good an average. Second, when you DH him you lose him as a back-up outfield option and rely on Rocco, which we have quickly learned is sadly not a reliable reliance (though in this hypothetical, Papi's roster spot would presumably be filled by another outfielder). I prefer Papi right now over Kotsay as DH.

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