|Big Papi is back with the Red Sox|
Unlike some of Boston's more recent deals (Carl Crawford, Daisuke Matsuzaka, J.D. Drew, John Lackey, et. al.), this transaction is money well spent. Even though Big Papi turns 37 later in the month, the same age as Alex Rodriguez, he has been able to avoid debilitating injuries and has not displayed any evidence of decline. As he enters his eleventh season with the Red Sox he is aging as gracefully as Ted Williams, Dwight Evans and Manny Ramirez did before him. He is still far and away the best Designated Hitter in baseball. His skills remain intact, his batting eye is sharp and his bat is still as potent as ever. His triple slash stats have increased in each of the past three seasons and he's reclaimed his status as one of the game's top hitters. Over that time he ranks sixth in slugging percentage and fifth in OPS, OPS+ and ISO in the same tier as elite offensive producers Miguel Cabrera, Joey Votto, Ryan Braun, Josh Hamilton, Jose Bautista, and Albert Pujols.
In 2012 he batted a robust .318/.415/.611 before an Achilles injury limited to just one game after July 16th. He also walked more than he struck out (posting the lowest K rate of his career), swatted his 400th career home run and made his eighth All-Star team as Boston's lone representative to the Midsummer Classic in Kansas City. The team's only holdover from the unforgettable 2004 World Series winners should continue to be an intimidating presence in the heart of John Farrell's order next season. At an age when most of his peers have retired or been reduced to reserve roles, Ortiz is still a lineup centerpiece and will be counted on to provide big numbers in 2013 as well as his signature veteran leadership. A .300-30-100 season seems well within his reach if he can remain healthy.
The Sox are also expected to bring back Cody Ross, an unexpected bright spot who cracked 57 extra base hits and posted an .807 OPS while being one of the few positive clubhouse presences last season.