In a word NO. Papi is not coming back in 2017.
The chatter has been there ever since David Ortiz‘s monster 2016 season. A season which will go down as the most productive final season in a big league career. He belted 38 homers, led all of baseball in doubles (48), slugging percentage (.620), and OPS (1.021). He and Edwin Encarnacion tied for the American League in RBI (127) finishing only second only to Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies who had 133.
Once the season ended the talk of whether or not Ortiz would consider a comeback in 2017 accelerated after the Boston Red Sox landed Chris Sale in a deal with the Chicago White Sox.
Ortiz took to Instagram to tease the fans saying, “My god, my boy Sale to Btown? You guys got me thinking.”
Despite teasing the fans with the Social Media post Ortiz has steadfastly said he is not coming back.
Pedro Doesn’t Buy Ortiz’s Retirement:
Despite Ortiz’s words, there are still fans that hold out hope that he will have a change or heart between now and opening day. Those fans received a bit of optimism from the words of Pedro Martinez.
In a radio interview with Trenni Kusnierek and John Tomase on WEEI radio Martinez said, “David says he’s retired, but I still believe David is going to give it another try.” Martinez said in an interview with Trenni Kusnierek and John Tomase on WEEI radio. “I don’t know why I have that feeling that David might want to do that. I just don’t see David, having the type of season that he had, and having the success that he was still having, sitting at home wasting it. David is too smart. I still believe David is going to feel the little itch of coming back to spring training.”
Martinez says he can say this with such certainty because he’s one of his closest friends. He surmises that Ortiz staying at home with his wife and kids that it’s going to get boring sooner or later. At that time, he’ll make it over for spring training.
“I think the toughest thing is going to be when he finds himself with so much time, and not having a regimen to follow,” Martinez added. “That’s going to be really difficult for David, a man that’s used to swinging the bat 500 times a day, mingling with his friends and teammates and all that. It’s just going to be difficult.”
Ortiz Not Prepared To Comeback:
In an interview with ESPN’s Enrique Rojas, Ortiz says that “my playing time has already expired.”
“Baseball is not something that you wake up today and you say, ‘I’ll play tomorrow,'” Ortiz said “Baseball is something that carries a lot of sacrifice, a lot of preparation, and there is a reason why we train the entire year to play it, practice every day, especially during the season, because it is a sport of consistency.”
I do believe that David Ortiz will miss baseball. He’ll miss it more and more as he watches the World Baseball Classic. Those games are generally played with much more intensity than Spring Training games. However, although retired he will not put the bats away and will keep swinging wherever he is.
He won’t call the Red Sox and say, ‘hey, I’m ready make room for me, here I come’ but, there is a scenario where I could see Ortiz making a return.
We’ve seen teams from the Los Angeles Dodgers to the Tampa Bay Rays be demoralized by injuries during the season. Some injuries are worse than others and some require big deals at the deadline, parting with prospects, to fill needs.
If the injury bug should ravage the Red Sox during the 2017 campaign AND their is an obvious need for his bat, he may consider a return.
That’s the only scenario I see that brings David Ortiz back to the diamond.