BOSTON -- David Ortiz never rushed around the bases. He’s not rushing back into a job with the Red Sox, either.
Opening Day is a big reminder that Ortiz is gone from the lineup. Eventually he’s going to rejoin the organization in a multi-faceted off-field role, something greater than what most alumni players take on.
But that doesn't sound like it'll be finalized any time soon. Perhaps later in 2017, maybe in time for 2018, Sox president Sam Kennedy said Sunday during CSN’s Baseball Show podcast.
All the parties want it to happen, but the retired slugger is acting just like that: retired.
“We’ve had I’d say three or four very positive meetings with him, with his agents, with John Henry, with Tom Werner,” Kennedy said. “He is so important to this franchise, so we’re talking about ways that we can work together for the long, long term. Not just the traditional sort of alumni contract where David would do a few things.
“But we’d like to have a more meaningful role and helping him with his marketing partnerships, have him have a meaningful role with our young players. And so we’re talking through it. There’s no rush to get it done, because at least according to him, he is not coming back. So we’re talking and I would expect we’ll get something done this year, but he’s really enjoying taking time off. He’s been traveling a lot. My understanding he’s going to be gone for sort of the first month of the half of April.”
Ortiz’s jersey, No. 34, is to be retired in a Fenway Park ceremony on June 23.
“There’s really no rush,” Kennedy said. “But he knows, believe me he knows the door is always open for any role he wants to perform with us. And we do want to get him involved sooner rather than later ‘cause he can be so helpful on the player’s side.”
Consider this a potential transition year, then.
“I think so, and we’ll definitely see him in June when we’re retiring his number,” Kennedy said. “But in terms of sort of a formal capacity, I don’t know — probably something this year. But it may be next year. In terms of, you know, the timetable.”
Whether broadcasting on NESN would be a part of the deal is up in the air.
“Broadcasting is an interesting one,” Kennedy said. “I think that’s probably me projecting that I would love to see him — that’s my personal opinion — as a broadcaster. He brings so much energy. His charisma is unmatched. Very much like Pedro. So I’d love to see David involved in broadcasting.
“He dabbled in it, a little bit in the postseason over the last couple years and I thought he was great so we’d love to have him do that as well, but I’m not sure he’s up for that type of schedule. And commitment right now, when he’s got younger kids and he’s traveling around. He’s going to (his son) D’Angelo’s games. So we’ll see how it plays out over the next couple months as we continue our talks.”