One of the biggest voids left not just in Beantown, but in all of baseball, has been David Ortiz. Ortiz retired this season after an outstanding career that saw Big Papi win three World Series titles, the World Series MVP, the ALCS MVP, and one home run title. He has 541 career home runs, 1,768 career RBIs and is the all-time leader among designated hitters in home runs (485), runs batted in (1,569) and hits (2,192). Who should the Red Sox replace as their designated hitter?
One of the names that keeps popping up for Boston is Toronto slugger Edwin Encarnacion. He had a solid season with the Blue Jays last year, hitting 42 home runs and 127 RBIs. Encarnacion would certainly love to play in the bandbox known as Fenway Park and it would boost his home run totals. But why should the Red Sox hold off on giving Encarnacion a contract?
For one, the Blue Jays have already made a $17.2 million qualifying offer to Encarnacion. Is it worth giving a draft pick to Toronto for the Red Sox to sign Encarnacion, especially when it comes to signing the 34-year-old? Would a three-year or four-year contract be worth it, especially if it's $20 million per year or more?
Besides, this free agent class isn't exactly the best class. In fact, it's one of the weakest. The hitting market is alright, but it's also one of the older markets. A lot of the hitters in this market are 30 or older.
A short-term solution would be to offer a player like Carlos Beltran a one-year deal and wait until the 2018 offseason rolls around. Beltran actually had a productive season with the Rangers and Yankees this season, hitting .295 with 29 home runs and 93 RBIs. Getting a hitter like Beltran on a one-year deal for around $8 million would not only be cheap, but it would help Dave Dombrowski and Boston to spend on key pieces like a middle reliever. Another thing to look at with the 2018 MLB offseason would be at how loaded it is. The starting pitching market is outstanding, but so is the batter market. Free agents like Jose Altuve (assuming his option doesn't get picked up), Todd Frazier, Jay Bruce, and J.D. Martinez would make it worth the wait for Boston.