Red Sox

Red Sox outfielders may be leaving the dance floor

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File photo

Red Sox outfielders may be leaving the dance floor

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Win, don't dance, repeat?

The Red Sox outfield has two days to get together and figure out whether they want to keep their iconic post-win celebration going in 2018.

“Debating it. We don’t know yet,” Mookie Betts said Tuesday, after the matter came up on the telecast of the team’s final exhibition game before Thursday’s Opening Day. “We don’t know if we’re gonna do it. Then if we do it, we have to just figure out what we’re going to do, so. That’s the debate or talk that’s going on.”

Betts acknowledged that most fans seemed to like the dance. He said too that a choice was coming by Opening Day.

The other primary participants in the dance were mum. The actual dance moves varied, but always featured one primary outfielder's dance while the other two dropped to a knee and pretended to crank an old-fashioned camera.

"It’s up in the air,” Andrew Benintendi said. “I don’t know. I don’t know. I’m low on the totem pole, so. Not my call. We’ll see. Jackie would know better than me.”

If Jackie Bradley Jr., standing a few feet away, indeed knew better, he wasn’t letting on.

“We’re gonna all find out at the same time,” Bradley said. “Time will tell.”

Could the Sox still celebrate, but not dance?

“I have no idea what we’re going to do,” Betts said.

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NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Hanley Ramirez making headlines the wrong way

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NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Hanley Ramirez making headlines the wrong way

1:29 - It was reported Friday that Hanley Ramirez has been linked to an ongoing, possible drug-related investigation. Evan Drellich joins Trenni Kusnierek and Mike Giardi from Fenway Park to break down what he knows about the situation.

6:56 - A. Sherrod Blakely sits down with Tom Giles and Danielle Trotta to explain why he’s not concerned about Celtics draft pick Robert Williams missing his first conference call with the media.

9:55 - Michael Holley, A. Sherrod Blakely and Adam Himmelsbach play a round of buy or sell surrounding the aftermath of Thursday’s draft results.

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Mitch Moreland comes through as envisioned without Hanley Ramirez

Mitch Moreland comes through as envisioned without Hanley Ramirez

BOSTON — The best acquisition of the Red Sox offseason was J.D. Martinez, who’s worth more money than they’re paying him. But Martinez is probably not the best value find of the winter. That title likely belongs to Mitch Moreland, making $6.5 million. 

When the Red Sox cut Ramirez, they also believed Moreland could cut it. The brain trust felt, hoped, that the overall drop-off going from Ramirez to Moreland would be negligible.

The exact circumstances of Ramirez’s departure from the Sox came into question Friday because of a report that Ramirez is tied to a criminal investigation into an alleged drug ring. Regardless of how that situation plays out — Sox manager Alex Cora said after Friday’s 14-10 win over the Mariners that he hoped the report was not true — the torch was passed to Moreland about a month ago.

The Sox’ general struggles against lefties can make the decision to let Ramirez go seem questionable (from a baseball standpoint, of course). But there was no struggle for the team on Friday against southpaw Wade LeBlanc, who came into the night with a 2.63 ERA and six days earlier tossed 7 2/3 shutout innings against the Sox. 

And overall, Moreland has indeed been sufficient in Ramirez’s absence.

Ramirez played his last game for the Sox on May 24. Since then, Moreland is hitting .280 with a   .343 on-base percentage and .484 slugging percentage, helped by a 3-for-5 performance on Friday night. Martinez (4-for-5) was the star of the evening, one of the best Sox wins of the year after starter Steven Wright allowed 10 runs. But Moreland, batting clean-up behind Martinez, tied a season-high with three hits. 

There was a brief rough patch in mid-June, a 4-for-32 skid in eight starts and 10 games that knocked down some of Moreland’s gaudy numbers. He’s still carrying the fourth-best OPS on the team since Ramirez’s departure, at .827. Nos. 1 and 2 are Andrew Benintendi, 1.059, and Martinez, 1.053. Those monsters have eight home runs apiece.

Moreland, carrying a five-game hit streak into Saturday, seems to thrive in the clean-up role, too. He’s batting .351 in 23 games in that spot this season.

It's a lot easier to forget Ramirez with Moreland raking like that in Ramirez's old spot.

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