When David Ortiz was given a new contract in November, I liked the deal. At the time, Brandon League signed a 3 year, $22.5 deal with the Dodgers -- money for a reliever that isn't especially great -- and sluggers that can produce on the same level as Ortiz were being signed to gaudy multi-year deals. Big Papi is older than those sluggers, but a short term deal worth the salary of a couple standard relievers per season? If Ortiz is healthy, that's a pretty good deal.
You know, if. He's healthy. If.
Ortiz's contract isn't heavy on incentives, but he does stand to lose a few million dollars if he spends too much time on the DL. That being the case, I doubt that Ortiz dogged it in his workouts this offseason and didn't put in a good effort to be ready by opening day. He came into spring training larger than the slimmer Papi we saw in February, 2012, but that's natural -- Ortiz's presence at the plate is dependent on how strong he is.
If his heels have been inflamed since July, 2012, then putting in cardio workouts to keep weight down is difficult to impossible. But to keep his strength, Ortiz can't curb his diet. Right now, Ortiz is caught in a Catch-22 because he doesn't look like he trained hard this offseason. However, the fact that Ortiz kept weight on while not being able to do cardio workouts is a good sign because it means that he kept his strength at a healthy level.
As I mentioned, giving Ortiz a two year contract was a good deal for the Red Sox if he was healthy. Before that contract was offered and signed, the Red Sox medical staff had plenty of time to exam Ortiz and gauge his health. He was injured in July, 2012 and stayed with the team for the rest of the season. He flew back to Boston in November and went to Fenway to sign the contract. I'll assume that Ortiz was given a few medical examinations in that time period, and the results were deemed positive enough for the team to make a sizable investment in him.
So, what happened? The media, with fans following, will point the finger at Ortiz -- but I point the finger at the Sox medical staff. It's time for them to be held responsible for their actions. I'll give them credit for stopping the team from making a large investment in Mike Napoli, but the list of their prior sins is still daunting... Carl Crawford, John Lackey, (most likely) Adrian Gonzalez; the injury marred campaigns of 2010 and 2012.
Now David Ortiz?
Exactly what the fuck is going on with the medical staff? Can these people even spot the Plague?