Red Sox

Xander Bogaerts signs six-year extension with Red Sox reportedly worth $120M

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USA TODAY Sports

Xander Bogaerts signs six-year extension with Red Sox reportedly worth $120M

UPDATE (April 1,  1:06 p.m. ET): The Boston Red Sox announced Monday they've officially signed Xander Bogaerts to a six-year contract extension through 2025 with a vesting option for 2026.

ORIGINAL STORY: The Boston Red Sox recently locked up a cornerstone player when they signed starting pitcher Chris Sale to a five-year contract extension, and they now have done the same with shortstop Xander Bogaerts .

ESPN's Jeff Passan reported Sunday night that Boston and Bogaerts are finalizing a huge contract extension.

The extension is worth $120 million and begins in 2020. So, including his 2019 salary of $12 million, Bogaerts is signed for the next seven years at $132 million. 

Extending Bogaerts makes a lot of sense for the Red Sox. He's one of the best hitting shortstops in baseball, his defense is very good and he's proven to be durable. The 26-year-old led all AL shortstops in RBIs, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and doubles last season. He also ranked third in batting average and third in walks among all AL shortstops in 2018.

Bogaerts is 3-for-16 with two walks and two runs scored through the first four games of 2019.

Locking up Bogaerts long-term gives the Red Sox a clearer picture of their financial future. Bogaerts was able to hit unrestricted free agency after this season and would have been one of the top non-pitchers available.

Getting him signed might allow the Red Sox to focus more time and effort on keeping superstar outfielder Mookie Betts in Boston for the foreseeable future. The reigning AL MVP can hit free agency after the 2020 season and likely will receive a gargantuan contract from whichever teams signs him.

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How Bobby Bonilla Day can save MLB's ongoing salary dispute

How Bobby Bonilla Day can save MLB's ongoing salary dispute

If baseball wants to solve its impasse over player compensation during the pandemic, here's a thought — make Bobby Bonilla Day a holiday.

Bonilla is the former Mets slugger who struck an incredible deal as his career wound to a close.

In exchange for waiving the final $5.9 million he was owed in 2000, Bonilla agreed to receive 25 payments of roughly $1.19 million every July 1 from 2011 through 2035.

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Why trade $6 million in 2000 for nearly $30 million later? Because Mets owner Fred Wilpon intended to invest the money with Bernie Madoff, whose funds consistently delivered massive returns. We now know Madoff was running the world's biggest Ponzi Scheme, and when his $64 billion fraud collapsed in 2008, it took hundreds of millions of Wilpon's money with it.

What's bad for him was good for Bobby Bo, however. Every summer, the six-time All-Star receives a check for over a million dollars, payments that will continue until he's 72. (The Mets, it should be noted, also agreed to make 25 annual $250,000 payments to Bret Saberhagen for similar reasons, starting in 2004.)

Here's where the current contentiousness enters the picture.

The owners want the players to take a massive pay cut in exchange for a season, arguing they can't afford to play in empty ballparks without salary concessions. The players don't want to return a penny, and in fact hope to play more than the proposed 82 games to make as much of their prorated salaries as possible.

One solution is deferrals. The players agree to put off some portion of their earnings, allowing ownership to maintain cash flow in the short term before the game's economics hopefully stabilize in the future.

And what better day to do it than Bobby Bonilla Day? Every July 1 starting next year, the players can receive a portion of their 2020 salary. Maybe it's paid in installments over three to five years, or maybe it's a lump sum.

However it's done, it could represent a meaningful olive branch from the players and a signal that they're willing to compromise in these unprecedented times.

The value for the owners is clear, because Wilpon isn't the only one who sees the allure of deferrals. The World Series champion Nationals prefer them as a rule, deferring not only $105 million of Max Scherzer's $210 million contract, but even $3 million of the $4 million they gave reliever Joe Blanton in 2017.

With players and owners at each other's throats, it could be disarming to invoke one of the game's stranger annual curiosities. And if it helps us play baseball in 2020, there's also this: Open the season on July 1 and make Bobby Bonilla Day, for one year anyway, a national holiday.

Who are the best right fielders in Red Sox history? Ranking the Top 5

Who are the best right fielders in Red Sox history? Ranking the Top 5

Corner outfielders for the Red Sox have vastly different responsibilities. 

While left fielders have to learn how to play with the Green Monster at their backs, right fielders are tasked with covering an immense amount of ground with some quirky angles —duties which require not just a mobile defender, but a fearless one. A strong arm helps, too, lest the turnstiles between first and third just spin all game.

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Fortunately for the Red Sox, there have been no shortage of exceptional right fielders over the years, including a number who didn't make our top five, like Dirt Dog Trot Nixon; postseason heroes J.D. Drew and Shane Victorino; and Earl Webb, whose 67 doubles in 1931 remain one of the longest-standing single-season records in the game.

The final list includes a Hall of Famer, two MVPs, a hometown hero, and one of the franchise's longest tenured stars.

Click here for the Top 5 right fielders in Red Sox history.