There’s no way to actually replace David Ortiz.
The character, of course, is irreplaceable. But honestly, where are the Red Sox going to find a guy with 38 home runs and a 1.021 OPS on the open market? Short answer: they won’t.
They’ll be worse off at DH now. That doesn’t mean they need to give up on it entirely though. And here are a few names who would make sense for them next year.
Edwin Encarnacion — A 40-home run hitter in the American League East. One of the best right-handed hitters in baseball. He split time between first and DH this past season. And he’s a free agent. Sure, he doesn’t hit for the same average as Ortiz or double nearly as much, but it’s hard to expect that from someone.
Kyle Schwarber — Asking price might be high here. But he doesn’t have a defensive position. He can hit big league pitching and proved he can hit well in the postseason. Only 23 years old and he owns an .831 OPS in the bigs. It’s a long shot. But if there’s a remote chance, go for it.
Mike Napoli — When Napoli doesn’t play the field everyday, he does it best. How else would he have launched 34 home runs this past season? He DHed about a third of the time. The Cleveland Indians might want him back though. But the Red Sox could use another right-handed infield bat. He’s just too streaky.
Carlos Beltran — He can play in the big markets. But he’s no longer a productive outfielder. At 39 years old, maybe he has another season or two left in him to give Boston a shot. After all, he did hit 29 home runs and post an .850 OPS in 151 games this past season. He’ll be 40 next April, but the Red Sox wanted him at the trade deadline and the Yankees wouldn’t budge — because of course. The only problem with him is how much baseball he has left.