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The Curse of the Big Papi?

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#1 SpiritofVodkaDave

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 08:10 AM

Ever since the Twins let Big Papi go they have gone 0-5 in playoff series, meanwhile he has done nothing but rack up awards and lead the Red Sox to 3 titles.

Curse?

#2 gunnarthor

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 08:21 AM

Um, you really think this board needs some new reason to rip on the Twins? Personally, I think if the Twins had taken as much PEDs as the Yankees and Red Sox they'd have done better in the post season.

#3 SpiritofVodkaDave

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 08:26 AM

I am one of the most optimistic and homer fans here, however it still drives me insane (did at the time) that we got rid of Big Papi, that is a franchise altering and possibly killing decision.

You can throw the PED/HGH thing around all you want, fact is Papi when given regular playing time turned into one of the most fearsome bats of the decade.

#4 TheLeviathan

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 08:37 AM

Um, you really think this board needs some new reason to rip on the Twins? Personally, I think if the Twins had taken as much PEDs as the Yankees and Red Sox they'd have done better in the post season.


Juan Rincon begs to differ.

#5 notoriousgod71

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 08:41 AM

What's even more sad is that Ortiz had a .997 OPS before he broke his hamate bone in 2001 and then a a.935 OPS after the all-star break in 2002 so we KNEW he was our best and most feared hitter.

But of course he likely would not have become what he is today with our b.s. hitting approach. I love the article where he explains that we wanted him "to hit like a little b-tch".

Just an irritating scenario all the way around.

#6 notoriousgod71

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 08:41 AM

Juan Rincon begs to differ.


Ruben Sierra PED > Juan Rincon PED

#7 SpiritofVodkaDave

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 08:43 AM

Juan Rincon begs to differ.


Yeah, let's not pretend there weren't ANY Twins players that weren't taking PED's.

Regardless, Ortiz was coming off a pretty nice year in 2002 with a .839 OPS (.500 SLG), in his 700 at bats as a 25/26 year old Ortiz put up 38 HR. It would be almost a different story if he was going to be a free agent, but he was arb eligible and would have made around 1.5 million (2.5 mil absolute tops) for a guy that had that kind of promise and power as a 26 year old, it was at the time, and remains at the time absolutely mind boggling that they got rid of him.

It clearly wasn't a case of him having an attitude, as he has been nothing but a positive for Boston, additionally, I know this doesn't count for much, but when I was in high school and went to Arlington for a Twins/Rangers game, Ortiz was one of the most accessible players on the team as he came over and talked to me and my buddies for a good long time.

#8 gunnarthor

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 09:04 AM

Let's look at this a bit. First, the 02 Twins were a small payroll team and the great concern was that Hunter wouldn't stick around. That team made the playoffs and upset the A's. Ortiz was the 9th most valuable position player by WAR on that team, 17th if you include pitchers. He had some injury problems and he was streaky. He had a a sub .700 OPS through July 8th. He had a terrific two week run where he hit 8 of his 20 home runs and slugged the crap out of the ball and then posted a sub .800 OPS in Aug/Sept. And he wasn't that great in the post season either. So the Twins thought LeCroy could pretty much do what Ortiz did the next year at a lower cost (and they were right, LeCroy put up a 116 OPS+ and 1.2 WAR and didn't stay healthy). They had a lot of players earning raises - their payroll jumped from 40m to 55.5m from 02-03. They couldn't keep everyone.

The move made sense and Ortiz was later implicated in PED use at the same time in somehow started playing a lot better and remained healthy.

#9 SpiritofVodkaDave

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 09:09 AM

Let's look at this a bit. First, the 02 Twins were a small payroll team and the great concern was that Hunter wouldn't stick around. That team made the playoffs and upset the A's. Ortiz was the 9th most valuable position player by WAR on that team, 17th if you include pitchers. He had some injury problems and he was streaky. He had a a sub .700 OPS through July 8th. He had a terrific two week run where he hit 8 of his 20 home runs and slugged the crap out of the ball and then posted a sub .800 OPS in Aug/Sept. And he wasn't that great in the post season either. So the Twins thought LeCroy could pretty much do what Ortiz did the next year at a lower cost (and they were right, LeCroy put up a 116 OPS+ and 1.2 WAR and didn't stay healthy). They had a lot of players earning raises - their payroll jumped from 40m to 55.5m from 02-03. They couldn't keep everyone.

The move made sense and Ortiz was later implicated in PED use at the same time in somehow started playing a lot better and remained healthy.


The move really made no sense. They choose to keep Fatbeer over a guy with legitimate talent and projection.

Using WAR to describe a DH's production is pointless, considering the entire point of having a DH is that you don't have to worry about their defensive (lack of) value.

#10 gunnarthor

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 09:31 AM

He did have a track record - clearly he had some pop in his bat (.195 ISO for the Twins, 58 HR in about 1500 at bats) but he had trouble staying healthy. He avg 115 games from 2000-2002 and it wasn't b/c the Twins were putting him in AAA. (He also missed a lot of time, again on the DL, in 98).

LeCroy (fatbeer, nice) was a decent prospect - a top 50 guy once who had several .900 OPS years at AAA. Twins decided to give him a chance at a quarter the cost.

As to WAR, even by oWAR, Ortiz is only the 7th highest guy among position players and still 15th or so among all players. Raises had to go to a lot of guys. The injury prone, streaky DH was a logical cut.

#11 SpiritofVodkaDave

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 09:58 AM

He did have a track record - clearly he had some pop in his bat (.195 ISO for the Twins, 58 HR in about 1500 at bats) but he had trouble staying healthy. He avg 115 games from 2000-2002 and it wasn't b/c the Twins were putting him in AAA. (He also missed a lot of time, again on the DL, in 98).

LeCroy (fatbeer, nice) was a decent prospect - a top 50 guy once who had several .900 OPS years at AAA. Twins decided to give him a chance at a quarter the cost.

As to WAR, even by oWAR, Ortiz is only the 7th highest guy among position players and still 15th or so among all players. Raises had to go to a lot of guys. The injury prone, streaky DH was a logical cut.


oWAR still factors in positional adjustment and factors in base running to much IMO. For a DH I prefer to look at the other stats, like how he was third on the team in OPS, 3rd in HR and 3rd in Slugging (Behind two very good OF that year in Jones and Hunter)

He hit over .950 in the second half when he was healthy, sure he had some health issues, but a guy with that kind of raw power is certainly worth the 1.5 million it would have cost to keep him around.

#12 mike wants wins

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 10:06 AM

And here I thought this would be a humorous thread.....every team passed on Ortiz when he was cut, until Boston had injury issues. I just don't think it was clear cut Ortiz was a good player. I would have kept him, but it isn't the worst decision they ever made.*

*assuming you judge decisions on information known at the time, not a decade later
Lighten up Francis....

#13 SpiritofVodkaDave

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 10:09 AM

The Minnesota Twins released designated hitter David Ortiz to make room on the roster for shortstop Jose Morban, selected from the Texas organization in Monday's Rule 5 draft.

#14 Halsey Hall

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 10:09 AM

I'd call it the curse of Tom Kelly. He's the one who wanted David to go to left field, and Ortiz didn't appreciate it.

#15 JB_Iowa

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 10:20 AM

Well, I do kind of think that the Twins need an exorcism.

I don't know if there's a "curse of the big Papi". I'm pretty sure there is a curse of the trees. And a "revenge of the metrodome". For all I know, there's also a "curse of the Kestrel" (whatever happened to him?).

Of course, some power hitting and power pitching might break all those curses. Still, it's worth considering a little voodoo. :)

#16 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 12:27 PM

I would rename this to "The Curse of the HGH".

#17 Marta Shearing

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 03:54 PM

I'd call it the curse of Tom Kelly. He's the one who wanted David to go to left field, and Ortiz didn't appreciate it.


The thing with kelly was weird. He didnt start out that way. It was as if he woke up one day and decided he was gonna completely change the organizations approach to hitting. As much as I love TK for the World Championships, he's pretty much the one who started this mess. It affected the way they drafted. It affected everything. Between opposite field hitting and pitch to contact, I'm not sure which is more embarrassing.

#18 Danchat

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 03:58 PM

I think it should be called "The Curse of All Former Twins"!

Oh, wait a sec, that isn't a curse... it's called players not living up to their potential here.

#19 Alex

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 06:13 PM

I am one of the most optimistic and homer fans here, however it still drives me insane (did at the time) that we got rid of Big Papi, that is a franchise altering and possibly killing decision.

You can throw the PED/HGH thing around all you want, fact is Papi when given regular playing time turned into one of the most fearsome bats of the decade.


I think it's fine to be frustrated that he was let go for nothing, but it seemed a lot of teams felt the same way. Yes, the Twins could have kept him and gotten a couple more years, but to think the Twins would have had him beyond that and signed him to a big contract is over the top. There's no way he would have been a Twin long term, so I don't think it's worth still being frustrated over.

#20 spycake

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 08:46 PM

As to WAR, even by oWAR, Ortiz is only the 7th highest guy among position players and still 15th or so among all players. Raises had to go to a lot of guys. The injury prone, streaky DH was a logical cut.


oWAR includes the positional adjustment too. For pure hitting performance, you need to look at batting runs (Rbat). Ortiz ranked 5th on the 2002 Twins, and 4th on a per PA basis.

#21 spycake

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 09:00 PM

every team passed on Ortiz when he was cut, until Boston had injury issues. I just don't think it was clear cut Ortiz was a good player. I would have kept him, but it isn't the worst decision they ever made.*

*assuming you judge decisions on information known at the time, not a decade later


Ortiz was released in December 2002 and signed one month later in January 2003, long before Boston had any injury issues.

And he actually signed with Boston for a raise over his 2002 Twins salary, even if it wasn't quite what he could have gotten in arbitration.

Boston was coming off of a 93 win season in 2002 and their projected DH (Jeremy Giambi) was hardly a lock for the position. I doubt Boston was his only offer -- it was just the best situation for him.

#22 spycake

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 09:30 PM

What bugs me most about the Ortiz thing is that I understand it's not easy to get guys on your team, so it's hard for me to fault the Twins too much when they don't land a particular player in the draft, free agency, or by trade -- after all, 29 other teams are competing for the same players.

But that makes it all the more glaring when you actually HAVE a guy and then you let him go. Particularly when you let him go after he showed significant MLB improvement in his age-26 season (what are the peak baseball ages again?) and was projected to make only $2 million or less... and then he immediately starts an epic 10 year run that makes him a Hall of Fame candidate (at least a guy like Johan took a few years in his new organization to develop)... I really don't see how you can spin that as anything but an epic screw-up, whether it's the GM and/or the coaching.

Thanks for the opportunity to vent.

#23 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 09:52 PM

I just don't think it was clear cut Ortiz was a good player.

he put up .900 OPS's in the minor leagues as a teen ager.
He made his big league debut at 21. He had an OPS+ over 100 in 5 of his 6 Twins seasons, missing only in '99 when he got only 25 PAs.

While I agree it's somewhat pointless to agonize over milk spilt a long time ago, it's also fair to say he was someone who had shown every sign of being a good hitter and was reasonably likely to get better. It's also fair to think an organization that makes a mistake of this magnitude would find value in examining how such a mistake was made in hopes of not repeating it.

#24 jokin

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 10:39 PM

he put up .900 OPS's in the minor leagues as a teen ager.
He made his big league debut at 21. He had an OPS+ over 100 in 5 of his 6 Twins seasons, missing only in '99 when he got only 25 PAs.

While I agree it's somewhat pointless to agonize over milk spilt a long time ago, it's also fair to say he was someone who had shown every sign of being a good hitter and was reasonably likely to get better.

It's also fair to think an organization that makes a mistake of this magnitude would find value in examining how such a mistake was made in hopes of not repeating it.


It was mentined previously in this thread, but bears repeating. Ortiz himself related about being a good soldier and dutifully going against his natural talent, inclination and instincts in trying to hit "The Twins Way". Once freed from these imposed strictures to play under "player's managers", first Grady Little, and then Terry Francona, Ortiz documented how he evolved from being asked to "hit like a little bitch" to being asked to hit like, and in fact, becoming "The Man" (and eventualy all-time great) for the Red Sox.

The evidence indicates that the Twins learned nothing from their "Lou Brock for Ernie Broglio"-type of talent-assessment gaffe. It will be interesting to see how a looming similar situation is handled in the cases of Sano and Rosario (early indications will manifest themselves in how Arcia and Pinto are swinging come next April).

#25 jokin

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 11:06 PM

Ortiz was released in December 2002 and signed one month later in January 2003, long before Boston had any injury issues.

And he actually signed with Boston for a raise over his 2002 Twins salary, even if it wasn't quite what he could have gotten in arbitration.

Boston was coming off of a 93 win season in 2002 and their projected DH (Jeremy Giambi) was hardly a lock for the position. I doubt Boston was his only offer -- it was just the best situation for him.


I think it's important to note, before Big Papi was signed, the Sox had finished 2nd in the AL East FIVE straight years. The evidently saw something in Ortiz they felt which could help provide impetus to the Sox in reaching the next level. History has proven they analyzed correctly, and not only has he been a great regular season producer, he has also proven to be a leader in post-season play (as Puckett was for the Twins, with an .898 postseason OPS). Ortiz has a career postseason OPS of .962. But Ortiz has been even more ridiculous as the stakes grew- in World Series play only, besides being a team leader as most recently indicated by his rousing speech to teammates before Game 5..... Ortiz has this astounding World Series batting line over 3 Series:

.455 BA/.576 OBP/.795 SLG/.1372 OPS

These numbers all rank among the highest World Series hitting numbers in the history of the game and are all #1 for any batter with more than 31 PAs.

http://espn.go.com/b...d-series-career

Edited by jokin, 31 October 2013 - 11:29 PM.


#26 Ultima Ratio

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 11:31 PM

Curse of the trees is just the latest curse then.
Man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains.

#27 BHtwins

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 04:26 AM

A lot of what what has been written about the Ortiz deal is urban myth by crowd that must protect the "Twins Way" at any cost.

First, there were a whole lot of us more statistically oriented Twins fans at the time that were rather perturbed that he was non-tendered. It was a big deal then so it wasnt like no one cared. A lot of people did and said it was foolish.

Second, he was non-tendered so he was a free agent. So while technically "every team" could have passed on him, no one besides Papi and his agent knows how many and what kind of offers were out there. His agent is Pedro Martinez's agent so many thought Boston was a natural. It is known that the 3 statistically inclined franchises had interest and likely made or would have made offers.

Third, both his free agent and trade market were somewhat hurt by another round of "Ortiz is 29 or 30 not 26" rumors going around again at that time. Supposedly TR tried to trade him before non-tendering him but we have no idea what he was asking for and how hard he tried.

Fourth, Boston very clearly knew what they had. Theo was particularly enamored with Ortiz John Henry and Bill James less so which is why the hedged contract. Theo tried hard all spring and the start of the season to move a 3rd baseman or a 1st baseman to clear up the log jam for Ortiz and force or persuade Grady to play Ortiz. It wasnt so much the injuries, although that didnt hurt, as much as the trading of Shea Hillenbrand that made Ortiz get more regular at bats.

Fifth, he wasnt markedly improved or different player with the Red Sox. He was exactly the same type of hitter he was with the Twins with a couple of differences. He swung at fewer pitches, which made his walks and by extension K's increase and he swung harder. He was less concerned with contact and bat control then controlling the strike zone and hitting the ball hard.

#28 old nurse

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 04:49 AM

A lot of what what has been written about the Ortiz deal is urban myth by crowd that must protect the "Twins Way" at any cost.


Sort of like when the people who complain that the Twins wanting Ortiz to be able to hit to left was a bad idea yet never looked at a hitting chart for Ortiz. Notice they don't shift for Ortiz.

#29 gunnarthor

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 07:35 AM

he put up .900 OPS's in the minor leagues as a teen ager.
He made his big league debut at 21. He had an OPS+ over 100 in 5 of his 6 Twins seasons, missing only in '99 when he got only 25 PAs.

While I agree it's somewhat pointless to agonize over milk spilt a long time ago, it's also fair to say he was someone who had shown every sign of being a good hitter and was reasonably likely to get better. It's also fair to think an organization that makes a mistake of this magnitude would find value in examining how such a mistake was made in hopes of not repeating it.


I think you're picking some stats that support your view and ignoring other relevant stats. As mentioned before, he was 27, had avg 115 games the previous 3 years (and missed a lot of time in 98 as well for injury), his defense was bad, some of his defenders are arguing that WAR for a 1B/DH isn't a good stat but he was still, by WAR, the 17th most valuable Twin in 2002. The team had huge financial issues - they had to increase payroll by over 15m from 02 to 03 and most fans were worried that the Twins couldn't keep Hunter (and Twins sites like ESPN had a bunch of big market fans posting how much they were looking forward to buying Hunter). Then Ortiz leaves, gets implicated in PEDs and the rest is history.

As to your last sentence, in the past decade since Ortiz left, have the Twins made a similar mistake? (And, in fairness to the Twins, I suppose you should see if they have picked up rejects/DFA'd guys from other orgs and gotten value out of them).

#30 Boom Boom

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 07:59 AM

We have evidence that Ortiz used PEDs while he was in Boston. What we don't know is when he started.

I don't believe that Ortiz went to Boston and the Red Sox culture corrupted him into a PED user. Would you be surprised if evidence came to light that he used PEDs while he was a Twin? I wouldn't.