I'm officially pushing the panic button. It kills me to watch David Ortiz right now. It reminds me of 20 years ago, watching Jim Rice struggle and fail so badly. After Papi's 0-7 performance yesterday with 3 K's, and an astounding 12 (TWELVE!) LOB, it is time for the Red Sox to start exploring options.
It pains me to write that. David Ortiz is my favorite all time Red Sox player. For all he's done, there's no way I can ever boo him. I won't. I may shake my head, and groan, "Come on Papi!", but I will never boo him. For five seasons (2003-2007), he was one of the Red Sox greatest all time power hitters. However, it is as if light hitting former Sox backup catcher Marc Sullivan or former SS Luis Rivera have inhabited Ortiz's body.
In looking at potential trade partners, there is one particular player I want: Prince Fielder. Big Prince is 25 years old and is making $9 million a year. For a small market team like the Milwaukee Brewers, who are always looking to cut costs, dumping Fielder's salary in this economy gives them flexibility. The Brewers bullpen has been pretty good, but their starting rotating is very suspect. Yovani Gallardo and Dave Bush are off to good starts, but the journeymen trio of Jeff Suppan, Manny Parra, and Braden Looper doesn't blow anyone away.
The Red Sox have a surplus of starting pitching. While Clay Buchholz and Daniel Bard are untouchable, I'd be fine with the Sox using Michael Bowden as trade bait. Bowden has thrown 34 innings thus far in 2009 at Pawtucket and is 2-1 with a 1.06 ERA. He has some brief major league experience and has done well in his two Red Sox appearances. He's exhibited poise and a willingness to go after hitters.
If the Brewers don't think a straight up swap of Bowden for Fielder is enough, I'd even be willing to throw in Manny Delcarmen, who'd immediately step in and be a quality experienced reliever for the Brewers.
Regardless, something has to be done here. Maybe a call up of Chris Carter would help. Jeff Bailey isn't the answer. Filling in for Kevin Youkilis, Bailey is batting a dismal .159. Could the Sox come up with some phantom injury for Papi, and find a way to send him to Pawtucket on a rehab assignment for a week or two to get himself straightened out? All I know, is when I see Ortiz late on 92 mph belly button high fastballs down the heart of the plate (like yesterday) where he's fouling them back, he's not right.
This team's pitching is so deep, that the Red Sox are already pretty much a shoo in to be in the playoffs. If Ortiz gets back on track or a trade for Prince Fielder is made, if the team remains injury free, there will definitely be another parade in this town in early November.