Saturday, May 16, 2009

Big Papi, little results

I sure hope you didn't waste a high pick or a keeper slot on David Ortiz this year.

You've gotten almost no return on your investment this year from Big Papi, who entered the weekend hitting an empty .208/.318/.300 (career: .285/.380/.547).

Ortiz also hasn't homered at all this year and hasn't gone yard in his last 144 at-bats - his longest drought since Sept. 9, 1998, to June 9, 2000, as the Associated Press reports, back when he was a nobody playing partial seasons with the the Minnesota Twins.

Now he's being benched for this weekend's series in Seattle - or taking a mental timeout, as Red Sox manager Terry Francona describes it. But it will be interesting to see what they do with Ortiz once he returns to the lineup: Will he continue to bat third, sapping all the life out of an otherwise potent offense? How long do they stick with Big Papi now that he's beginning to show signs of age and Manny Ramirez withdrawal?

And what the heck do fantasy owners do with him? In my main league, Ortiz was traded a few weeks ago straight up for OF Chris Young ... and then dropped the other day in favor of RP Michael Wuertz. How the mighty have fallen.

In my mind, unless you're in a really shallow eight-team league, you've got to stash Papi on your bench for now. Yes, he's looking washed up at this point, but there's a lot of time to regain his stroke, and the Sox are obviously going to give him multiple opportunities to do so. You could stick Russ Ortiz in the third spot in that lineup and he'd still manage to put up some decent numbers with enough chances. Obviously you're not going to get what you expected out of him this year, even if he goes on a major hot streak, and even if he does, this little episode has to raise a giant red flag for next season.

If you're looking some sort of positive, there's this: With interleague play starting up next week, Ortiz wasn't going to see many at-bats in the coming week anyway, so at least you won't be faced with a tough decision. Bench him until he starts to show a pulse.

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