On January 22, 2003, the Red Sox signed David Ortiz to a one-year, $1.25 million contract. At the time, the deal hardly triggered any attention at all, even among the most obsessed baseball fans in Boston. Our Transaction Analysis on the move dedicated half a sentence to noticing it.
The Red Sox were Ortiz’s third different organization, and having turned 27 that offseason he was well past the point of being considered a noteworthy prospect. Ortiz had shown some intriguing power up to that point in his career and even slugged .500 over 125 games for the Twins in 2002. Still, he hadn’t made enough of an impression to stick around, and Minnesota released him that offseason after six years with the team. Few could imagine him serving as more than a bench bat in Boston.
That he became so much more is the reason why, over 13 years later, the news that Ortiz will retire after the 2016 campaign sparked dismay among Red Sox fans and immediate debate regarding what his ultimately legacy will be.
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