By now you've all heard the news. David Ortiz is out for at least 2-3 weeks, and possibly much longer (if they have to operate), with a serious wrist injury. While the hope is that he'll be able to recover within the month, the team should start considering their options to replace his production now.
Ortiz was putting up a line of .252 / .354 / .486. With his average and OBP down, most of Ortiz's value came from his power, with 10 2B and 13 HR. Even his isolated power numbers were down from last year (.233 to .289). Ortiz was still hitting well in clutch situations, batting .323 with 2 outs and runners in scoring position. The offense will suffer in his absence.
So I present the options to sub for Ortiz, starting with the most controversial.
"The name's Bonds. Barry Bonds... I'll have the cocktail. Injected, not stirred."
Bonds makes the best sense from a baseball perspective. His numbers last year were insanely good: .276 / .480 / .565, with 28 HR. Even if we adjust for playing in the National League, being the only dangerous hitter in the Giants lineup (and thus getting more BBs), and allow some decline for age, Bonds' superhuman OBP should still translate well to the AL. He has a great career line against the AL in interleague play: .310 / .501 / .653. This has held up in recent years as well; for example, in 2007 he hit .372 / .550 / .605 in interleague play. So there's no reason to expect Bonds to come to Boston and stop hitting, walking and slugging.
At this stage, Bonds is the definition of an undervalued player. Teams in need of a slugger, from Oakland to Seattle, have shunned him. His legal troubles and PR / clubhouse issues obscure Bond's talent, and allow Boston to gain a competitive advantage over the rest of the league. Best of all, once Ortiz is ready the team could DFA Bonds (to thunderous applause). Unfortunately, Bonds would need a few weeks to prep for the majors, so the team would have to move quickly to get him.
Other External Options:
Ken Griffey Jr.: The Reds might trade him if it became clear they were out of contention. He is probably the 2nd best external option. He shouldn't cost as much in trade as a younger slugger. There'd be no PR hit, and watching him chase 600 would be fun. He's also six years younger than Bonds.
Sammy Sosa: His average and OBP were quite low last year (.252 and .311, respectively), though he showed decent power with 21 HR. Since he is unsigned, all he would cost the team is money.
Trade for a young slugger, ex. Jason Bay / Adam Dunn / Garret Atkins / Matt Holliday / Mark Teixeira: Any one of these players would command a fortune in prospects and major league players (think Pedroia, Buchholz), more so than Griffey. Other teams know they can extort the Sox since Ortiz is injured, so a trade would probably end up too one-sided.
Coco Crisp: If the Sox DH Manny, as they did Tuesday night, then Coco basically becomes Papi's replacement. Coco's .291 OBP and nonexistent power are unacceptable in any lineup, let alone one without Ortiz. While the OF defense gets better with Ells/Crisp/Drew, I doubt this will compensate for Crisp's lack of offense.
Chris Carter (called up): Carter, 25, has hit very well in every stage of his minor league career. He seems to me like the best internal candidate to replace Ortiz. His line at Pawtucket is .310 / .366 / .526, with 10 HR.
Jeff Bailey (sent down): Bailey is having an even better season at Pawtucket than Carter, with a .315 / .407 / .668 line and 17 HR. However, Bailey is 29, and has been in the minors for almost a decade. It's unlikely the Sox have high expectations for him, considering how little major league play he's gotten in his four years with the team's affiliates.
Brandon Moss (in AAA): Moss is recovering from his May appendectomy, but could be called up soon. His numbers at AAA: .309 / .360 / .559, with 6 HR. His OF defense is good, and he could spell Drew and Manny at the corners.
Sean Casey: Unlike Coco, Casey at least has the ability to hit for average and get on base consistently (.367 career OBP). He doesn't hit for power, unlike Moss, Bailey, or Carter, but we know he won't struggle to hit major league pitching.