Red Sox

Dave Roberts explains how Mookie Betts already has made positive impact on Dodgers

Dave Roberts explains how Mookie Betts already has made positive impact on Dodgers

Los Angeles Dodgers fans are anxiously awaiting the debut of superstar outfielder Mookie Betts, who was acquired in a trade with the Boston Red Sox in February.

Major League Baseball earlier this month canceled the rest of spring training and delayed the start of the 2020 regular season amid the outbreak of the coronavirus. Before that announcement from the league, Betts already was making a great impression on his new teammates.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts recently appeared on ESPN's "SportsCenter" and explained what excites him most about his new team. Red Sox fans won't be surprised with his answer.

"Oh gosh, I don't know if we have enough time, but let me just say it starts with Mookie and ends with Betts," Roberts said,. "Just the way that him and David (Price) just assimilated with all of their teammates. How Justin, Clayton and Kenley took these guys in with open arms. We are going to play baseball in 2020, but to see a guy and hear so much about a guy's makeup and work ethic, and to live to that standard -- very rare. That's what Mookie and David did. We're excited to play baseball in 2020."

Betts didn't often show a ton of personality in Boston, but it sounds like he's been a little more vocal and outgoing around his new team.

"David (Price) said 'I've been with Mookie for many years, and he's never gotten in front of his teammates and spoke and put his neck and his heart out there.' He basically just called us out in the best possible way as far as what it's going to take this group to get to the next level and hold that trophy up," Roberts said of Betts' talk to the team. 

"Just a sense of urgency and playing for one another, and the little things. He had this little thing were every little mistake we make is going to be a contribution to the pot, so whether it's cut-offs and relays, PFPs ... To be a guy that talks the talk and walks the walk with the back of his baseball card, the credibility he has, spoke volumes."

Betts and Price joining an already-talented Dodgers roster has led to oddsmakers giving Los Angeles the second-best odds to win the 2020 World Series, just behind the New York Yankees.

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Lou Merloni destroys MLB, players for bickering over 2020 return plan

Lou Merloni destroys MLB, players for bickering over 2020 return plan

As the NBA, NHL, NFL and MLS prepare to resume play in the near future, Major League Baseball still can't get out of its own way.

MLB reportedly rejected the Players Association's proposal Wednesday for a 114-game season in 2020 and apparently doesn't plan to make a counter-offer.

The league and the players have refused to budge on the issues dividing them: Players don't want to take an additional pay cut after agreeing to prorated salaries in March, while the owners are wary of extending the season too long due to the coronavirus pandemic and want players to agree to further reduced salaries to mitigate lost revenue.

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That stalemate has cost MLB valuable time, however, as the league doesn't appear close to beginning its 2020 regular season as the calendar turns to June.

So, who's to blame here? Lou Merloni believes it's everyone involved.

The former Boston Red Sox infielder ripped into both the league and the union Wednesday night during an appearance on NBC Sports Boston.

"Both sides suck, OK? That's the bottom line," Merloni said. "The Players Association comes back and says, 'Not 82 (games), we want 114' when they know that's the non-starter. The owners don't want to sit there and play until November. They're worried about the pandemic; they've got to get the playoffs in. And then the owners come back and say we're not even going to counter?

"Jesus, we're like a month into this thing. Can you string this thing out (any longer)? How about go in one room together and try to figure this out in a day or two?"

Compounding MLB's issue is that the NBA is expected to announce a return-to-play plan Thursday that would resume the 2019-20 season in late July. The MLS and NHL also have made headwinds toward resuming their seasons this summer -- which means baseball is wasting a much-needed opportunity to showcase itself as the only active pro sports league.

"I mean, you're running out of time and you're only screwing yourself. Even if baseball does come back, people have already said, 'I've had enough of you.' It's been like a month, a year, and you guys talk and bitch about this thing publicly. I don't give a crap anymore. I've got hockey, basketball, football is around the corner, hell, soccer is around the corner. I'm good.

"They don't even realize it! It's like they're in this bubble and they don't even realize what's going on around them right now. Figure this thing out: 70 games, 65, prorated (salaries), start playing some baseball, because your ass better be first coming back. If not, people are going to be done."

There's reportedly some optimism that the players and the union will resolve their differences and put a return plan in place. But with nearly one-third of the season already lost, the clock is ticking.

Check out Merloni's full comments in the video player above.

Who are the best designated hitters in Red Sox history? Ranking the Top 5

Who are the best designated hitters in Red Sox history? Ranking the Top 5

There's only one choice for best designated hitter in Red Sox history, but just in case there's any doubt, we'll quote broadcaster Dave O'Brien with the signature call from his WEEI days: "DAVID ORTIZ! DAVID ORTIZ! DAVID ORTIZ!"

No sense in even pretending there's any suspense on this one.

What's fascinating about ranking the Red Sox DHs, however, is just how few of them have actually held down the position for any length of time over the years.

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Only nine players have made at least 200 appearances there with the Red Sox since the DH was introduced in 1973, and four of them — Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice, Dwight Evans, and Manny Ramirez — have already appeared elsewhere in our outfield rankings.

That leaves five men to fill out the list, and about the only difficult omission is slugger Jose Canseco, who made 184 appearances between 1995 and 1996.

Click here for the Top 5 DHs in Red Sox history.