Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Updated: October 13, 11:00 AM ET
David Ortiz talks free agency, Sox mess
ESPN.com news services
Could Big Papi really relocate to the Big Apple?
Longtime Boston Red Sox slugger and free-agent-to-be David Ortiz spoke about the possibility of signing with the AL East rival New York Yankees during an interview Wednesday with ESPN's Colleen Dominguez, after expressing frustration with the state of the Red Sox, who've seen manager Terry Francona and general manager Theo Epstein leave in the wake of the team's September collapse.
"There's too much drama, man," Ortiz told Dominguez in reference to the Red Sox. "There's too much drama. I have been thinking about a lot of things. I don't know if I want to be part of this drama for next year."
But would Ortiz really consider defecting to the other side of baseball's biggest rivalry?
"That's something I gotta think about," Ortiz said. "I've been here on the Red Sox a long time, and I've seen how everything goes down between these two ballclubs."
Ortiz stopped well short of saying he wanted to play for the Yankees, but did express respect for the organization.
"It's great from what I hear," Ortiz said of the Yankees. "It's a good situation to be involved in. Who doesn't want to be involved in a great situation where everything goes the right way?
"They lost just like we did, they just went to the first round of the playoffs. I ain't heard nobody coming out killing everybody just because they lost."
Ortiz said the drama in Boston, the issues circulating since the end of the season, need to be addressed.
"The owners need to take care of it right now so everybody can come in with a fresh mind next year and do what they're supposed to do."
Ortiz is coming off a season in which he hit .309 with 29 homers (though just one in September) and 96 RBIs. He made $12.5 million this year after the Red Sox picked up his player option last fall, and at several points this season has expressed his desire for a multiyear contract.
Two weeks ago, Ortiz told ESPNBoston.com that Boston is a tough place to play, but also expressed a desire to return. On Wednesday, he said he didn't understand those who think the Red Sox should part ways with him.
"I see a lot of people out there asking the Red Sox to let Papi go, and I don't know why," Ortiz told Dominguez. "As long as I've been here, I'm just doing my thing."
Ortiz wasn't sure how his impending free agency would play out.
"We'll see how things go down," he said.
Ortiz said he was still hurting from the Red Sox's missing out on the playoffs after going 7-20 in September.
"That was a surprise because no one expected to fail like that," he said.
"No one expected us to be that bad after everything we had accomplished the whole season. It was devastating."
Ortiz said he didn't know of Epstein's impeding departure to the Chicago Cubs until Dominguez asked him about it during the interview.
"I am just finding out right now," he said. "I have been disconnected from all the drama going on around here. Too much drama. My head is spinning way too much to deal with everything that is going on. I have unplugged, you know, and I have just been dealing with my family."
Nonetheless, Ortiz did voice support for Francona, who has seen the lion's share of criticism fall on him for a perceived lack of leadership and discipline amid a clubhouse culture that has come under fire.
"I don't know why people want to blame (Francona) for all of this," Ortiz said. "He can tell us what to do. But he is not the one who has to go out there and perform."
As for the reports of drinking in the clubhouse, Ortiz said it was nothing new.
"We had that when we won the World Series in 2004," he said. "We had that when we won the World Series in 2007. Beer in the clubhouse, it's always been there. Video games, that's always been there; guys eating fried chicken, that's always been there."
Despite all the uncertainty and upheaval in Boston, Ortiz said his approach remains the same.
"I just want to play baseball," he said. "I'm a winner, I play to win, I want to make good things go on around me."
Whatever uniform he dons next year, Ortiz promised his priorities wouldn't change.
"Trust me, I play the game for the fans, my family and myself," he said.
Information from ESPNBoston.com's Joe McDonald was used in this report.