The American League started using designated hitters in 1973 and since then, there have really only been two great lifelong DHs — Edgar Martinez in the steroid era and David Ortiz in the post steroid era, if that’s what it’s called.
Regardless of how people rank them, one and two or two and one, no one is really arguing that there is a better active DH than Ortiz. In fact, with Ortiz’ retirement, the DH spot will not be the same anywhere.
Many teams, most teams in fact, do not seem to use the same guy at DH every single night. Sure, Billy Butler, Kendrys Morales and Evan Gattis look to be mainstays at the position. But they are not the pure hitters that Ortiz is and that still leaves the vast majority of American League teams without a full-time DH.
In college baseball, the DH spot is often used as a way to give guys partial days off. And that seems to be the overwhelming trend in the major leagues these days as well.
It takes a special bat to be able to warrant giving someone a DH spot full-time since it takes away from the versatility of the bench. With Ortiz, the Red Sox are not as versatile. But no one would dare complain about a 35 home run bat since it more than makes up for it.
Ortiz is in his last season — which is bittersweet for Red Sox fans. There will be tears late in the season, lots of them.
Even Chuck Norris will be crying.
Yes, that was probably just acting. But anyways….
The general consensus right now is that Hanley Ramirez will take that DH job in 2017. But he has been all around the diamond so even if his defense is ugly, he just can’t replicate Ortiz. Not to mention there is a chance he is not half bad at first base.