Did anyone really think David Ortiz was going to fade quietly into baseball history, never to be heard from again?
Just in case, the Red Sox yesterday signed Ortiz to a long-term agreement that will have the 10-time All-Star serve “forever” as organizational mentor, ambassador and recruiter. He’ll also work in a “business development capacity” with Fenway Sports Management.
Although the Sox called the deal “unprecedented,” it seems at least vaguely similar to the special assistant roles of Pedro Martinez and Jason Varitek. Ortiz already had his No. 34 retired earlier this season.
“His place in this organization speaks for itself,” manager John Farrell said before last night’s 7-3 loss. “Any time players have had that kind of success and what he’s meant to the city, the organization, to keep him around, to keep him involved — much like Pedro, much like Tek — there’s a lot to be gained from their experiences. A big personality and a big presence when he is involved in an event or project whatever it might be. Nothing but positives in terms of him staying connected to the Red Sox.”
In a team release, owner John Henry referred to Ortiz as “family” and chairman Tom Werner touted Ortiz’ “wisdom, experience, and character that has lifted this club time and again.”
Also in a released statement, Ortiz seemed to outline a few details of what exactly he’ll be doing for the team.
“I’m happy to be able to help the Red Sox organization I love in any way I can,” Ortiz said. “Whether that’s offering advice to a young player, helping convince a free agent that there’s no better city to play in than Boston, or representing the club in the community and with its partners, it’s great to be part of the Red Sox organization. It feels like I never left.”
In his first year of retirement, Ortiz was already serving as a kind of unofficial advisor.
“There’s been a couple times I’ve reached out to him this year on some things,” Farrell said. “As there has been with Tek and Pedro. You’d be foolish not to tap into their experience and include them when you see their ability or see an opportunity for them to make an impact. So, glad he’s going to be here and hope to include him in some player aspects as we go forward.”
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