Boston’s Papi Ortiz has gained the respect of his peers and the ear of the MLB community. The big Dominican slugger is a postseason icon, a three-time World Series pimp and at times he’s even been the mouthpiece and social conscience of the baseball world. With that being said, The Big Homie was out of line and caught up in the rapture with his recent comments about the Robinson Cano signing in Sunday’s Daily News column, The Score Hears…
“The Yankees f-it up. Period,” Ortiz said. An organization is always going to do what they’re capable of at the time. (The Yankees ) tried, but it wasn’t what (Cano) deserved. That’s the way I see it. “
Always looking for a chance to throw a shot at his arch-enemy Yankees, the 38-year-old Ortiz needs to worry about his own contract, which expires at the end of 2014.
If Big Papi thinks the Yankees have lost their marbles letting Cano bounce to Seattle for $240 million—the third largest contract in pro sports history—then he should have given up some bread and helped Boston add Cano. I get it, though. Dominican ballplayers set the market in MLB, and Cano had no choice but to keep driving salaries up. It’s the way the game is played. Whether or not he wanted to stay with the Yankees for less money doesn’t matter. It’s an unwritten understanding among all players that a free agent takes the highest offer—and, if possible—breaks contract records. There have been some exceptions, but rarely in an instance such as this, when a contract reaches record-breaking thresholds. It’s simple baseball economics: Drive the market up so the trickle-down effect is beneficial for all major leaguers. So Ortiz, being one of MLB’s influential, elder superstars, wanted to throw his support behind Cano and Roc Nation breaking the bank.
“With the money that people are getting in baseball, Cano’s contract… he got respected,” Ortiz said. “ I mean, (Yankee are) going to miss that. When you’re in that division and you don’t have to face Cano that many times, that’s a plus for you as a pitcher and an organization.”
Questioning the Yankees’ motives at this point is an obvious cheap shot. Papi playing GM is an obvious joke. And to use profanity to express his point is kind of over-the-top.
Easy Big Papi, you’re not a fan. This isn’t a situation like the Boston Marathon bombing where everyone is sharing your sentiments and needed a pick-me-up in the aftershock of destruction.
Why would a Red Sox player give a damn if the Yankees weakened themselves by being “cheap” anyway? As Boston’s No. 1 basher, Ortiz should be thanking Brian Cashman if Cano really means that much to the balance of power in the AL East. It’s obvious that Papi is feeling on top of the world. He probably had a couple of Jose Cuervos in him when he spit his fire too. The feared Yankees have been human battering rams for his exploits for a decade now. Why not throw more fire on a dying flame and create any advantage he can for his Red Sox entering the 2014 season?
Even without Cano, the Yankees are loading up like The Achaemenid Empire during the Greco-Persian War this offseason. The addition of catcher Brian McCann, ex Red Sox CF Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran has fortified a Yankees team that still won 85 games last year, in what was considered a horrendous season by their standards.
Cano had to come up with a reason for why he took the 10-year, $240 million to go play in baseball’s Siberia, so he said “the Yankees disrespected him’’ by offering him $25 million per year. It was another absurd comment to make. Maybe Jay Z is a business savant because somewhere in this free-agent period, Roc Nation had cats convinced Cano was bigger than baseball and putting up Frank Robinson numbers his entire career. As dope as the two-bagger is, he only averages 24 homers and 97 RBIs a season, which isn’t mythical production.
Cano’s value is enhanced by the fact that he plays a position that traditionally lacks Hall of Famers with a stick like his, but this talk of him being the John Blaze of the game is marketing hyperbole.
Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones, a guest at Ortiz’s recent charity golf tournament in the Dominican, is watching the winter meetings closely as his team stays pat and their AL East opponents reinforce themselves. He says his O’s squad fears no one, but don’t get it twisted: nobody’s sleeping on the Yankees. And with all due respect to Big Papi, Jones has more sense than to question 27 world championships worth of personnel decisions, just because the Yanks didn’t want to break the bank for a 31-year-old second baseman with 204 homers in nine seasons.
“The Yankees are the Yankees,” Jones also told the Daily News. “I was watching Ellsbury’s introductions, and (the Yankees ) hit .242 last year. They were fourth lowest in baseball… The Yankees were still 10 games over .500 with bad hitting. That Yankees mystique—you put on them pinstripes, you’re going to win. The pinstripes are winners. My job is to take the pinstripes off," Jones continued.
Whereas Ortiz’s job this postseason has been to piss the pinstripes off. What else is new?