Bill Simmons has a theory on David Ortiz. I think it makes more sense than the PED-withdrawal thing people have been muttering about:
How many Latin players have been exposed for lying about their ages in the past few years? Hell, one of Papi’s best friends — Tejada — was found to have cut two years off his birth certificate when he was 17, er, 19 … you get the point. Watching Papi flounder now, I’d believe he’s really 36 or 37 (not 33) before I’d believe PEDs are responsible. In a recent game in Minnesota, he couldn’t catch up to an 89 mph fastball. Repeat: 89 mph!
That’s what happens to beefy sluggers on their way out: Their knees go, they stiffen up, bat speed slows and, in the blink of an eye, they’re done. Beefy sluggers are like porn stars, wrestlers, NBA centers and trophy wives: When it goes, it goes. You know right away.
So that’s my theory. I think he’s old(er). You may think something else. Whatever the case, it’s clear that David Ortiz no longer excels at baseball.
I still won’t rule out some weird injury, and whether he’s truly injured or not, I bet he spends a loooong stretch on the DL this year if for no other reason than they need to do something with him.
But it could easily be age. A lot of guys simply fall off a cliff at a certain age, and perhaps Ortiz finally just made it to the cliff.