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What's next for David Ortiz? The slugger explains his role with the Red Sox

Rob Bradford
December 03, 2018 - 8:39 am

David Ortiz is getting another World Series ring. That's because he is an employee of the Red Sox.

What exactly does he do? Well, that remains somewhat of a mystery.

"Even being at the (championship) parade it was a little hard for me because I’m part of the organization but I wasn’t the one on the field doing the things," Ortiz told "John (Henry), Linda (Pizzuti-Henry) and the front office want everybody involved and that was the main reason I was there. I just don’t want to be in their way. I want to see Mookie and J.D. and Bogaerts and Vazquez and Price and Sale doing their thing from the outside because it’s their time to do their thing.

"I’m there. The organization, they approach me with things. I do what I have to do behind the scenes. I talk all my boys. Whenever I see something I share ideas. But I don’t want to be in the way. I’m always open to doing whatever the organization wants me to, but I just like to do it behind the scenes."

The Red Sox and Ortiz came to an agreement in the final month of the 2017 season that would keep the former designated hitter involved in the organization, serving as a mentor for players, helping the recruitment of free agents, making special appearances and other various tasks.

Immediately, many thought Ortiz was going to take a similar path to Pedro Martinez or Jason Varitek, former players who can be found in uniform at various times throughout the season (in Varitek's case the entire campaign) helping the current players. Both, in fact, will be at the upcoming MLB winter meetings in Las Vegas as part of the Red Sox' brain trust. 

But other than a quick visit to spring training there haven't been many (if any) Ortiz sightings.

That, he explained while hosting his annual David Ortiz Celebrity Golf Tournament (benefitting the David Ortiz Children's Foundation), was by design.

"The reality is that I’m always open. I tried to be very conservative when it comes to being around too much," he said. "I don’t want to be a distraction. I don’t want to be in anybody’s way. But I found my way to do things with some of the players. I found my way to help share ideas, share my experience. 

"The reason I haven’t gotten more involved like Pedro or Varitek is because I’m a guy, you know the way people look at me and my time to shine is already behind. I’m not a player anymore but people are still approaching me like I am still. Sometimes it is embarrassing to be around the players and be seen that way."

The low-key approach when it comes to Ortiz's work with the Red Sox is understandable considering how long it took for many in that clubhouse to break from the slugger's shadow. Even when the 10-time All-Star stopped by the Sox' clubhouse in the midst of the club's postseason run it became a big deal.

But now things might be different. This Red Sox group is standing on their own two feet thanks to a World Series title, and Ortiz is now two full seasons away from life as an active player.

What does it mean for Ortiz? He's not sure yet. Between family and business commitments, he is still a busy man who clearly prefers to offer his advice behind the scenes. It's an approach Ortiz doesn't figure to be deviating from any time soon.

"I’m always on the phone talking to my boys," he said. "When I go into the clubhouse we share ideas. When I come to spring training I share ideas. We have a coaching staff who works on the field that I respect. But like I always say, four eyes can see more than two. I know how to approach guys without being disrespectful because I know there are coaches who out there who are able to help. As a player sometimes you have to have the confidence to be able to work with coaches. 

"Sometimes when certain players get in trouble they call me because we played together and they know I know how to fix things. I just won’t do it in public. Or if I do it in public it’s combined with the coaches. Not just me. I’m not here to get credit for anything. My days to get credit was when I played baseball. The getting credit thing is not my thing. I help whenever I can and do whatever I need to do. Not for me but for the organization because this organization I will do whatever I need to do to make it better."

Related: Could a pair of Yankees relievers end up with Red Sox?