What If David Ortiz Stayed With The Seattle Mariners?
The Designated PapÍ, David Ortiz was elected yesterday into the Pro Baseball Hall of Fame. First off, congrats are in order for the second-best designated hitter in baseball history. The greatest designated hitter in MLB history could have been an infielder (as seen a couple of weeks ago in my What-If Series).
The second-best designated hitter was an infielder as well, but we won’t look too much into that in this post. Today, we are going to look at a very valid hypothetical that was circling through the minds of some of our Sodo Mojo Contributors…
What If David Ortiz Stayed With The Mariners?
For those that want to know what it would look like, we’ve got you covered with David Ortiz in a Mariners jersey. Now, I do understand that the way this hypothetical is worded may make some think that Ortiz had a choice in all this but I did choose the wording for a specific reason. Here is the back story on all this, from NBC Sports:
"David Ortiz signed with the Seattle Mariners as an amateur free agent on Nov. 28, 1992. After three seasons in the Mariners organization, Ortiz was traded to the Twins for Dave Hollins, a one-time All-Star who only topped 20 home runs in a season once in a 12-year career, which included a brief stint with the Red Sox."
So essentially, the Mariners traded away a first-ballot Hall of Famer for a one-hit-wonder… That pretty much sums up the Mariners luck with transactions over the years (see the Erik Bedard trade for starters). But with Ortiz not becoming relevant until after 2002, it does make it a little more of an interesting what-if because I will be assuming the Mariners played the long game with him to see how he would have developed.
The Mariners Could Have Had Two Of The Best DH’s Of All Time
With Edgar set to retire two years after Ortiz “hit his stride” in 2002, if the Mariners hadn’t traded Ortiz and played the long game with him they would have been able to employ him in their “post-Edgar” world.
Ortiz dabbled in the field at 1st base for the first few years with the Boston Red Sox but he didn’t play in the field as much as his career progressed and his agility decreased. Projecting the exact outcome with the Mariners, it would have been pretty awesome seeing Ortiz and Olerud splitting time at first.
Clearly, this comparison may be seen as off-base (yes, pun intended), but the Mariners are currently dealing with a “too much good at one position” scenario with Evan White and Ty France at 1st base. I think having both Olerud and Ortiz at 1st base would have been great for the Mariners because they were both decent fielders and more than decent hitters in their own right.
In fact, I think it could have promoted the development of his fielding, with Olerud being a Gold Glove winner in each season he was in Seattle except for 2004. But instead, we sit here looking back and wondering what-if the Mariners kept David Ortiz.
Thanks for reading this week’s “what-if” Wednesday! Check back next week for our next installment!