Why Red Sox should extend Big Papi 

June, 10, 2011
David Ortiz, 35, is the face of the Boston Red Sox, and he’s off to an uncharacteristically fast start, hitting .326/.394/.612/1.006 with 17 doubles, 15 home runs, 36 RBIs and an impressive 25-26 BB/K ratio. He is leading the Red Sox once again and giving the Fenway faithful hopes of another world championship.

[+] EnlargeDavid Ortiz
William Perlman/The Star Ledger/US PresswireDavid Ortiz is second to only Jose Bautista in the American League in slugging percentage.
Big Papi is eligible for free agency at season’s end, and the Red Sox should take care of him now. Give him a two-year extension at $15 million per year -- $30 million guaranteed, with no incentives, no awards, but plenty of respect.

The acquisitions of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford have re-invigorated Ortiz. He has more protection in the lineup than he’s had since he and Manny Ramirez brought a second World Series trophy back to Fenway Park in 2007. Ortiz is also still learning, even at age 35. Taking batting practice and watching nightly the way Gonzalez and Crawford bang the outside pitch the other way has been contagious for him. He’s starting to do the same, and the Ortiz over-shift is no longer as effective.