Big Papi officially retires from baseball

Big Papi officially retires from baseball

BOSTON -- David Ortiz is now officially retired.

A couple of weeks ago, the Red Sox exercised Ortiz's $17.2 million option for 2017. The basis for that move was simply to prevent the slugger from signing with another team if he were to have a change of heart. At that point, Ortiz hadn't filled out his retirement papers yet.

But one of the most iconic performers in Red Sox history is now officially an inactive player. Ortiz was only due the $17.2 million if he played in '17.

It isn't surprising that the move would come this week, because all teams must submit their 40-man roster by Friday in preparation for the Rule 5 Draft.

Ortiz's marvelous career was capped by perhaps the best final season for any player ever. At the age of 40, Ortiz led the Majors with a 1.021 OPS. He hit .315 with 48 doubles, 38 homers and 127 RBIs in his 20th Major League season.

The Red Sox now face the daunting task of trying to replace him in the lineup.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski is prioritizing either a left-handed hitter or switch-hitter to fill the sizable void left by Ortiz.

Boston has a solid group of right-handed hitters, including Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Hanley Ramirez and Dustin Pedroia.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.