By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com
David Ortiz needs to start a podcast. Now.
The Red Sox legend spent some time chatting with Rich Shertenlieb of 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Thursday, and the two touched on all of the big topics on Boston sports. The combination of personality and experience Ortiz brings to the table makes him a one-of-a-kind interview, and his answers will hit deep with any Boston sports fan.
Amid swirling rumors that the Red Sox are nearing a deal for Mookie Betts, Ortiz opened up about his desire to see Betts stay in Boston, but understanding the business behind trading him.
“Listen, it’s going to be the last year of his deal. I don’t think the Red Sox, because we have one of the highest payrolls, you know, out of everybody in the big leagues. And I don’t think our owner John Henry would want to go past that. To sign a guy like my boy Mookie, what you have, I think you have a certain amount of money offer. He wants a different amount. I think it will just blow the payroll for the Red Sox. So this is a time for the Red Sox, they’re gonna make a move with him to do it right now so they can get some draft pick, some prospect. That’s when you take advantage of having a guy like him in your side. And when you know that you can afford to pay him. So what you do? You trade him and get on young talent that, I’m not gonna say that you’re gonna go out there and get a Mookie Betts. Because you don’t see a Mookie Betts every day. But players develop, players get to a certain level, player get to learn. You know how the game is right now, that everybody’s 19, 20. You go there and change that. You know that when you trade guys like Mookie Betts somewhere else, you’re going to get really good stuff.”
Later in the discussion, Ortiz gave his take on the Astros cheating scandal (‘they went too far’) and talked about his relationship with former Red Sox manager Alex Cora.
“I don’t know. You know, number one I retired by the time. I wasn’t playing. Number two, I don’t know much about the Houston Astros. I know this banging thing that was going on. I don’t know. You know, number one I retired by the time. I wasn’t playing. Number two, I don’t know much about the Houston Astros. I know this banging thing that was going on…I didn’t directly talk to him [Alex Cora] about that. I just want to know how, Alex and me, we are personal friends. And I just want to know how he feel. You know? Alex have a daughter who I love. I saw her grow up. Alex, love my family, you know? So we are really good friends. Hey, listen, people make mistakes, nobodys perfect, especially in the game. Sometimes people want to go outside the rules, just because in your mind or you’re thinking about is winning. I’m not saying that whatever they did in Houston was the right thing to do. I know the commissioner and MLB, they always made sure that whenever they punish somebody, it’s something that the fans are in peace and we move on. I know MLB going to do that. So it’s something that, you know, curiosity and technology took over. And they went too far.”
Ortiz also mentioned Cora “got the guys back”, perhaps a slight to former Red Sox manager John Farrell, who left the team with what many perceived as a damaged clubhouse chemistry.
“I talked to Alex [Cora] the other day. You know, unfortunately, I was expecting Alex to be there for another six years. Because Alex, he brought so much and so many good things. Like, I love walking into the clubhouse since Alex took over because he was like, it was a brotherhood down there. Guys were playing for another guy like that and it wasn’t even looking like they were playing for the manager. Because I played for managers that, it was the relationship wasn’t like here. Like it was with Alex. I saw that from the outside. He got the guys back and the guys want to bust their tail for him.”
Because it’s the Super Bowl, Ortiz gave his two cents on Tom Brady’s pending free agency. The three-time World Series champion compared Brady’s current situation to his own from the end of his career, and says he expects big things from Brady, no matter what he chooses to do.
“I know. But guess what? I’m breaking the news. He’s [Tom Brady] coming back for next year…Listen, when I was on my way out, the question over there was can we pay him? Guess what? I will still perform at the highest level. People were worried about the age thing. But let me tell you, a guy like Tom Brady, guy like myself, we get prepared to compete against what people think about the age thing…That give you a motivation. When people thought, ‘Oh, he’s old. I don’t think he’s gonna do it again,’ we’d come in and do it again. That’s Tom Brady. He has shown for many years, how good he is and what he brings to the table for us, the New England Patriots fan. So I don’t care what anybody say. I went through it. I got out of the game. I’m doing what I was supposed to do. You know, I watch him. He’s the same prototype. And I’m telling you, you’re not going to waste your time on money when you pay to a guy like Tom Brady.”
Finally, Ortiz spoke about the team at Mass General Hospital who took care of him following his shooting in the Dominican Republic back in June.
“That’s my second family, man. I’m telling you, like, Mass General man. I’m telling you, God just pulled me over there. And these people, man, they would not let me sleep just making sure that everything was going well. I used to sleep two hours a night, because they would come in different teams to check up on me to make sure that everything was on point and, besides God, that’s one of the major reasons why we are here. I love you guys at Mass General. Dr. Keane, the whole team, you guys know I got nothing but love for you. I was there. I was in Boston last week. I went to check up on him. Dr. Keane, he likes the triathlon. He likes to run, swim, ride a bicycle. I mean, this guy is absolutely legit. I love him, man. And I come and check up on them.”
You can (and should) listen to Rich’s full chat with David Ortiz here:
Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Hate mail? Let him hear it on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at Alexander.Barth@bbgi.com