If you’re looking for clues that the Red Sox are taking at least baby steps toward becoming a non-embarrassing franchise again, consider that they’re looking to resign David Ortiz and Cody Ross.
Ortiz is the more significant of the two. Two years ago, it looked like Ortiz was done for, at least in a Sox uniform; but now he is the only remaining member of the ’04 Idiots, is hands down the most visible and likable personality on the team, and most, important, is still really fking good. One of the worst in a huge dustbin of disappointments in 2012 is that the Sox wasted a banner year from Ortiz; via ESPN, Ortiz went .318 with 23 home runs and 60 RBIs, leading the Sox in all measures of hitting during the stretch he was healthy.
The catch: other teams can make competing offers to Ortiz this year. He’s been vocal that he wants to retire in a Sox uniform, and not in the last-minute trade version of Garciaparra; so it’s left to the Sox to make sure they do right by him. If the Sox ditch Papi, especially after offloading Adrian Gonzalez, they’d lose both their best hitter and their best personality.
Ross, a free agent, is also the type of the player the Sox should keep around. A key component of the Giants’ World Series run, Ross hit well for the Sox this year, stepping up after mainstays like Ellsbury and Pedroia went down to injuries. And unlike some players we won’t mention, he performs well despite a relatively low price tag.
The Sox still have massive, and massively expensive, problems in John Lackey, Dice-K, and others. But resigning good, likable, affordable players would be a nice start toward next season; on the other hand, losing one or both of Ortiz and Ross would be quite deflating. I still wear my Sox cap daily on the streets of New York City; I’d like not to do so in vain.