Big Papi and his protective boot watch as the Red Sox offense flounders.
The old quote of not missing what you have until it's gone can firmly be applied to how it feels when David Ortiz is missing from the Red Sox lineup. Since being pulled from the lineup last Tuesday before a double header against the Rays, there's no denying that the Red Sox lineup has lacked the swagger and pop it had prior. Youk, and recently Jacoby Ellsbury, have been missing from the lineup as well, but for whatever the reason, Papi's absence seems to be leaving the largest hole.
The past seven games without Papi in the lineup the Sox have averaged 3.7 runs per game. They averaged 4.3 the seven games before Papi was in a boot, and have not looked like the same Team since. In a year where the Sox may have three legit MVP Candidates (Ellsbury, Gonzalez, and Pedroia) it's easy to forget how important Ortiz is to this Team, both in the clubhouse and in the batters box. He's having a phenomenal season due in large part to Gonzo helping protect him, he's hitting to left more, and is showing that he's still a massively productive player.
What this all boils down to is this: by being injured for only a week, has Papi played into a new contract with the Red Sox? I sure as hell hope so. The powerful and productive DH seems to be a dying breed, and as Ortiz has proved, he's far from done. On top of his production, the leadership he brings to the clubhouse is second to none - along with how much he means to the franchises history it seems like a no brainer. Time will tell, and nothing will be answered until there's snow on the ground, but if these seven games have shown anything, it showed that life sans Papi is not a fun one, and I'm in the camp of trying to bring him back for 2-3 more years. Sure that last year may not be worth it, but the other two should be, and keeping him in Boston seems as important as Jeter staying in NY, he means too much to the city, fans, and Team.