Red Sox

David Ortiz is all fired up about J.D. Martinez not being MVP finalist

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USA TODAY Sports

David Ortiz is all fired up about J.D. Martinez not being MVP finalist

David Ortiz is tired of the anti-designated hitter bias.

The former Boston Red Sox slugger never won an American League MVP award despite putting up some monster numbers throughout his career. He's apparently still a little salty about that, and after watching J.D. Martinez finish a distant fourth in AL MVP voting this year, Ortiz couldn't bite his tongue any longer.

"OK, Mookie Betts was the MVP, but you were the runner-up," Ortiz told WEEI.com's Rob Bradford at his annual David Ortiz Golf Classic in the Dominican Republic. "That’s the type of credit he needs to get. Not this other (expletive). Come on, man. I never understand it."

"... How about if I tell you J.D. made Mookie better. He made (Xander) Bogaerts better. Every lineup needs a guy like him so he takes pressure off the rest of the guys so the guys can be better. Look at the 2017 season, look at the 2016 season and then look at the 2018 season, then you tell me. Be my guest."

Ortiz's argument: Martinez is such a good hitter that he affects how pitchers approach the entire lineup. And that kind of impact can't be measured in sabermetric stats like Wins Above Replacement -- which Big Papi apparently isn't a fan of.

"Sabermetrics might be 85 percent of the game, but without the 15 percent that isn’t measured, if you don’t get that then that 85 percent doesn’t mean (expletive)," Ortiz said. "That 15 percent is the heart, the hunger, what matters to you and what is important to you. To me, J.D. Martinez is that difference. He was and he is going to continue being that difference."

Ortiz speaks from experience: While he didn't play the field in Boston, his presence in the batting order made the Red Sox's lineup an absolute force during their 2004, 2007 and 2013 championship runs.

The retired slugger believes Martinez was every bit that same presence on the 2018 Sox -- and was an indispensable part of their title run.

"I don’t care about what anybody says, with WAR and this and that. If you don’t have a guy like J.D. Martinez in your lineup you don’t win the World Series," Ortiz said. "If we don’t have him in that lineup there will be no World Series. You can go around and ask anybody. That’s what MVP means. I know how hard that is and I don’t think they do."

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Brock Holt continues to embrace role on Red Sox: ‘I love it here’

Brock Holt continues to embrace role on Red Sox: ‘I love it here’

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Whether he’s playing various positions, boosting morale in the clubhouse, or hitting for the cycle in the playoffs, Brock Holt is a jack of all trades.

Holt has carved out an invaluable role with the Red Sox since joining Boston in 2013. A role he still embraces six years later.

“I love it here,” Holt told reporters Sunday at JetBlue Park. “You know, this has become home to me. I’ve said many times that I would like to play every day if possible, but if that were the case I wouldn’t be a part of this. This team calls for me to move around and play different positions. That’s what’s gotten me to be in the big leagues, stay in the big leagues and be a part of this team, and I’m very thankful for that.”

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While Holt would love the opportunity to contribute on the field day in and day out, the 30-year-old remains willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win.

“I feel like everyone in this clubhouse is here to win, and that’s all we want to do and that’s all I want to do,” he said. “So whatever we have to do to make that happen, that’s what we’re going to do. I think that’s kind of why I fit the way I do. We have a lot of really good players in here, but I feel like I’m a really good player as well and I can back those guys up when they need a day off, or an injury or something like that.”

Holt’s plentiful contributions to the team both on and off the field haven’t gone unnoticed. Red Sox manager Alex Cora praised his utility man on Sunday.

“He’s great in the clubhouse, he’s one of the leaders, he’s always willing to do whatever,” Cora said.

“He’s a good a player. A productive player. The last two months of the season and the playoffs he was driving the ball out of the ballpark. He was slugging and he played good defense at second. So I’m very happy to have him back. Him around us makes us better, and he’s a guy that’s gonna be important for us all through the season. We’ll find at-bats for him, he’ll play different positions, and he’s going to be productive.”

After talking about teammate Mookie Betts winning the 2018 American League MVP award, Holt was asked if he believes he’d have a shot at the award if he were an everyday player in another city.

“Chances would probably be a little better. More at-bats, obviously,” said Holt. “But no, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere but right here doing what I’m doing. Getting to put on this uniform every day and play for this organization is something you can only dream about and I’m getting to live it every day. So I’m very thankful.”

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J.D. Martinez: ‘For a DH to win MVP, they’re going to have to walk on water’

J.D. Martinez: ‘For a DH to win MVP, they’re going to have to walk on water’

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Many were surprised last year when J.D. Martinez finished outside of the top three in MVP voting, but Martinez saw it coming.

Martinez’s numbers jumped off the page in 2018. In his first season with the Red Sox, the 31-year-old mashed his way to a .330 batting average, 43 home runs and 130 RBI. Still, he finished fourth behind teammate Mookie Betts, Angels superstar Mike Trout, and Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez.

While his teammates were stunned to see him fail to crack the top three after being arguably the best pure hitter in baseball, Martinez knew all along that being a designated hitter would cost him votes.

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“I was like, ‘Guys, there’s no way the analytic guys are going to ever let that happen,’” Martinez told reporters Sunday at JetBlue Park. “For a DH to win MVP they’re going to have to walk on water.”

He might be right. Red Sox great David Ortiz finished in the top five in MVP voting five times, but never won the award. Another one of the best designated hitters of all time, Edgar Martinez, placed in the top five only once.

“It became the talk in the clubhouse last year,” Martinez said. “Everybody’s like, ‘The only way you’re going to win it is to win the Triple Crown.’ I was like, ’100 percent. That’s the only chance.' So when it came out, I kind of expected it.”

Martinez’s production at the plate spoke for itself, but it was his presence off the field that likely earned him more MVP votes than he otherwise would have gotten. Betts, manager Alex Cora, and many more of Martinez’s Red Sox teammates have spoken at length about his invaluable contributions in the clubhouse.

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