Today is David Ortiz's 36th birthday. He is still without a contract from the Red Sox—or anyone else—for 2012. We all know what this man has done for the franchise—he's been the face of Red Sox baseball for nearly a decade. But, as has been pointed out by the Globe's Peter Abraham, the radical re-alignment of MLB into two 15-team leagues—with much more inter-league play—does not help Papi's case in free agency. The new set-up will likely mean almost twice as many inter-league games—games which Papi will view from the bench. That holds down his potential value.
The other dynamic that seems to be taking hold in baseball is what you might call the 'Henry Ford Model' of DH'ing (interchangeable parts). More and more, teams are rotating players in and out of the DH spot—players with enough versatility to play multiple positions. For example, Detroit handled that pretty well among V-Mart, Alex Avila and Miguel Cabrera. But even their approach will be hurt by the new scheme. In any event, the older 'Babe Ruth Model' of DH'ing (big lugs swinging for the fences) is moving out of favor. Not good news on your birthday if you're David Ortiz.