Unlike the rest of this interminable off-season, the Red Sox annual Winter Weekend gave us a lot to talk about. Attendants got a particularly special treat when veterans/legends Pedro Martinez, Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield, and David Ortiz showed up to reminisce, ignite our nostalgic sides, and comment on baseball today.
With over a decade and a half of experience playing and later mentoring his fellow teammates as well, David Ortiz has a lot to offer the current Red Sox, so it makes sense that the team would sign him to a vague-yet-exciting deal that will have him returning to the organization to mentor players, among other duties.
And the player who Papi seems most excited about is Rafael Devers, the 20-year-old rookie who joined the team midseason and immediately became beloved. In a listless lineup that finished last in the AL in home runs, Devers began his Major League career with quite a few bangs. He hit 10 homers and drove in 30 runs in just 60 games. With his first-ever postseason home run back in October, he became the youngest Red Sox player ever to homer in a playoff game. His second home run of the series made him the youngest player in MLB history to hit an inside-the-park homer in a postseason game.
Papi says that he sees a bit of himself in Devers. High praise indeed, coming from the man who played for the Red Sox from 2003-2016 and hit .286 with 541 homers, 1768 RBIs, and was a 10x All-Star, 7x Silver Slugger, 3x World Series champion, and World Series MVP, not to mention the most-beloved player the team has had in decades.
Luckily for Devers, Papi will be joining the team at spring training in a few weeks, and the two can get to work improving the team’s, well, everything. Even though no one can replace Big Papi, it’s encouraging that the man himself sees someone with potential in this otherwise-lackluster lineup.
“I want to learn from someone like him who’s a future Hall of Famer, an All-Star and just pick his brain for any tips he can give me, any data he can give me,” Devers said. “I look forward to that opportunity.”
The young Padawan can definitely learn a lot from the Red Sox’s great Jedi Master.
*Quote via NESN