Oct 31, 2013, 9:22 AM EDT
BOSTON — A lot of people are going to be asking that question this morning. Anyone answering “no” had better bring a good argument, because they’re on the much tougher side of the battle today than they were a year ago.
First, though, let us set aside the World Series and look at Ortiz’s overall case. Don’t worry: we’ll get there in a minute.
David Ortiz is a career .287/.381/.549 hitter. He has 431 homers and 1429 RBI. His OPS is .930 and his OPS+ — which adjusts him to the level of his competition, his era and the ballparks in which he hits — is 139, which means (for quick and dirty purposes) that’s he’s 39% above the average hitter. These numbers place Ortiz comfortably within the range of current Hall of Famers. Is he inner-circle? Not really, but his not borderline on the numbers either. There are many worse hitters than Ortiz in Cooperstown whose primary argument for induction was their offensive output.
The Designated Hitter Factor
Of course Ortiz is offensive output and offensive output alone. He has played a mere 263 of his 1514 career games in the field, spending the rest of his time as a designated hitter. Not having any defensive value does take away from his overall value, but the notion that just because one has zero defensive value means one has no Hall of Fame case is silly. The DH has been part of the game for 41 seasons. It is not some novelty anymore. Relief pitchers are routinely inducted to the Hall of Fame now and they are specialists too. Many — specifically, one-inning closers — are the sorts of specialists that have only existed since the 1980s, really. If no one knocks them for not being all-around players no one should knock the DH. And the fact is that, with the possible exception of Edgar Martinez, David Ortiz has been the greatest DH in baseball history. And for what it’s worth, Martinez should be in the Hall too.
The Playoffs Factor
I don’t necessarily believe that there are clutch hitters. Meaning, guys who can be predicted to do well in tough spots and on big stages before the fact. But there is no escaping the fact that Ortiz has done well in tough spots and on big stages throughout his entire career.
In three World Series he has hit a mind-boggling .455/.576/.795 with 14 RBI in 14 games. Is he some freak of nature in this regard? Not really, as his career playoff line — including division series and league championship series — is almost identical to his batting line since he joined the Boston Red Sox. But that’s not to diminish his playoff performance. We notice what he does in the playoffs far more and are usually amazed. The fact that he has basically done that for his entire Red Sox career and some people think he is undeserving of the Hall tells us that we are underrating his regular season performance.
The Performance Enhancing Drugs Factor
The ultimate objection to Ortiz’s candidacy will be that he was once associated with performance enhancing drugs. Specifically, his name was leaked — but never confirmed — as one of the 103 players who tested positive for banned substances during baseball’s trial drug testing in 2003. Drug testing that (a) was, by design, not to result in discipline; and (b) was supposed to remain anonymous but which had its anonymity compromised by over-zealous federal investigators.
You may have a personal rule that, if someone who took PEDs, they should not be in the Hall of Fame. We’ve handled these arguments here several times before and have shown them to often be disingenuous and unfair. Maybe nothing will change your mind, but know that there are already Hall of Famers who took PEDs and know that the accusations made against Ortiz are perhaps the thinnest that have been lodged against any player. And know that, in the past decade, he has never tested positive for PEDs.
So: He’s a Hall of Famer, Right?
You bet your bippy he is. The numbers certainly bear this out. And he still has a lot of gas left in the tank so he’ll be providing value for a few years yet, adding to his case. But you can be statistically illiterate and see this guy’s value as a player. His mark on the game is indelible. Numbers aside, Ortiz has killed it in the World Series. He clearly carried the Red Sox this year. He is clearly the leader of one of the best teams of his era.
When I have a tough call on a Hall of Fame candidate, I ask myself: “Can you tell the story of baseball in the era in which he played without including him?” If the answer is no, it’s hard to argue against his Hall of Fame case. And in Ortiz’s case, that answer is clearly no. The man should go to Cooperstown the first year he’s eligible.
Jul 31, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT
Not satisfied with adding Justin Masterson to the rotation yesterday, the Cardinals have added another veteran starter by acquiring John Lackey from the Red Sox. And, much like Boston’s deal to get Yoenis Cespedes from Oakland for Jon Lester, the Red Sox have prioritized the present by getting veterans Allen Craig and Joe Kelly in exchange.
Jul 31, 2014, 12:49 PM EDT
Seems that Gomes knows more about team chemistry than the people who hold him up as a paragon of good chemistry.
Jul 31, 2014, 12:38 PM EDT
Because the Dodgers can apparently never have too many current and former closers in the bullpen, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that they’re “trying hard” to acquire Joaquin Benoit from the Padres.
Jul 31, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT
It’s a win-win from where I’m sitting. In my basement studio. With shorts on beneath the suit jacket, even if I’m trying to look like I’m in an office.
Jul 31, 2014, 12:16 PM EDT
San Francisco released reliever Dan Runzler from Triple-A so that he can sign with the Orix Buffaloes in Japan, according to Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com.
Jul 31, 2014, 11:50 AM EDT
Joe Saunders has been released from Triple-A by the Royals, who’re the fourth organization to cut bait on the veteran left-hander this season.
Jul 31, 2014, 11:32 AM EDT
I never understand the Royals.
Jul 31, 2014, 11:20 AM EDT
Recapping all of Thursday’s dealings in one spot.
Jul 31, 2014, 11:13 AM EDT
Tommy Milone was the odd man out in the A’s rotation before today, so there was really no place for him in Oakland following the Jon Lester trade.
Jul 31, 2014, 11:12 AM EDT
Because, if you haven’t noticed, they have not sewn up the AL West yet.
Jul 31, 2014, 10:47 AM EDT
Harvey was selected for the Futures Games as a 19-year-old and started 17 games at low Single-A with a 3.18 ERA and 106/33 K/BB ratio in 88 innings.
Jul 31, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT
The Sox did not get hosed here. Don’t believe that for a second.
Jul 31, 2014, 10:15 AM EDT
Emilio Bonifacio was available to the Cubs on a minor-league deal after being released by the Royals in February and now five months later they’re going to get something in return for the 29-year-old speedster.
Jul 31, 2014, 10:02 AM EDT
We didn’t see this coming!
Jul 31, 2014, 9:46 AM EDT
It just gets more complicated to make a trade after 4pm today.
Jul 31, 2014, 9:16 AM EDT
It was quite a tribute to Greg Maddux, actually.
Jul 31, 2014, 8:55 AM EDT
Trade rumors? Heck, he looks like he’s going to be a key piece for the Dodgers down the stretch.
Jul 31, 2014, 8:10 AM EDT
The State of the Trade Deadline, eight hours before the music stops.
Jul 31, 2014, 6:59 AM EDT
Always go 100%. Even if you’re not totally into what you’re doing. That includes singing power ballads.
Jul 30, 2014, 11:19 PM EDT
From FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi comes word that the Marlins and White Sox “have discussed a possible trade” involving left-handed starter John Danks.
- Red Sox trade John Lackey to Cardinals for Allen Craig and Joe Kelly 14
- 2014 Trade Deadline Tracker 12
- The Lester trade is a win-win 101
- BLOCKBUSTER: Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes heading to Oakland for Yoenis Cespedes 159
- The State of the Trade Deadline: Yesterday was pretty sleepy. Will general managers wake up today? 40
- Cardinals acquire Justin Masterson from Indians 49
- There’s a “very good chance” the Red Sox trade Lackey and Lester 53
- Hey, Rube: Phillies pay dearly for Amaro’s misguided loyalty 91
- Expert’s Corner: How to troll fans of all 30 teams (201)
- “Caucasians” t-shirts are hot sellers on Canadian Indian reservations (199)
- BLOCKBUSTER: Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes heading to Oakland for Yoenis Cespedes (158)
- Rangers’ retirement gifts for Derek Jeter: Yankees cowboy boots, signed George W. Bush photo (121)
- Must-click link: sexual depravity — and possibly rape — in the minor leagues (105)