Red Sox

Red Sox wave white flag of surrender on season by doing nothing at trade deadline

Red Sox wave white flag of surrender on season by doing nothing at trade deadline

BOSTON -- Dave Dombrowski shifted in his seat and then delivered the saddest opening statement since Brett Kavanaugh ranted about PJ and Squee.

"We do not have any announcements," Dombrowski proclaimed with faux cheer. "We did not make any trades."

Dombrowski probably should've stopped right there, because the next 25 minutes left the distinct impression that no matter what they say, management and ownership have collectively given up on the 2019 season.

Uncomfortable doesn't even begin to describe Dombrowski's attempts to explain away this disaster of a trade deadline, which did indeed pass without the Red Sox doing anything beyond acquiring fifth starter Andrew Cashner a couple of weeks ago.

Instead, Dombrowski tried to sell us (and maybe himself?) on the idea that the bullpen is actually really good, and no, seriously, a bunch of teams wanted to acquire *his* relievers, thank you very much. He noted that internal solutions exist at Triple A, which means he's counting on the disappointing Ryan Brasier or the unproven Tanner Houck to rescue his flawed bullpen.

A week that started with the hopes of acquiring Mets closer Edwin Diaz before downshifting to the possibility of adding two relievers ended with the Red Sox acquiring no one because the price was too high. Dombrowski admitted the team's place in the standings played a role.

"If we were closer to first place, I would've been more open minded with some of the other things," he said.

Translation: this team isn't good enough to justify any further expenditures, not when the prize is a one-game wild card crapshoot at Cleveland or Minnesota. Ownership doesn't think this club is worth another penny, and it's definitely not my fault.

"The reality is, if we're going to make it, it's going to be the guys that are in the clubhouse," Dombrowski said. "That is the case."

Translation: Did I mention this isn't my fault?

While the Red Sox stood pat, the rival Astros acquired former Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke to pair atop a rotation that already includes Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, becoming prohibitive World Series favorites in the process. The Rays bolstered their bullpen (Miami's Nick Anderson) and offense (slugging first baseman Jesus Aguilar). The Indians added Yasiel Puig. The Twins grabbed a pair of relievers. If there was any remote solace, it's that the Yankees struck out, too.

What happened? For two days, manager Alex Cora had strongly hinted that the Red Sox would be adding bullpen help. Tuesday night's implosion, when Marcus Walden, Josh Taylor, and Colten Brewer combined to blow a 5-4 lead in a 6-5 loss to the Rays, seemed to cement the marriage of need and availability.

And then … crickets. Dombrowski described the costs as prohibitive, but it's hard to believe he couldn't have struck a deal for someone, anyone.

"I don't know that there was a player out there that was traded that we couldn't have acquired," Dombrowski said. "It's just that we didn't like the price that was asked. And I guess the other part of it is to know that as we talked about our farm system over the years, we got asked about a lot of our players that we just didn't want to make moves on."

This is a complete and utter surrender. With the starting pitching middle of the pack and the bullpen still two arms short, the Red Sox didn't see the point in sacrificing future resources on a hopelessly flawed team. From an ownership perspective, it might prove the right move in the long term.

But if that's the case, let's call it what it is and agree to wait 'til next year.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

MLB rumors: David Price to give $1,000 to Dodgers minor leaguers in June

MLB rumors: David Price to give $1,000 to Dodgers minor leaguers in June

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher David Price is going into his own pocket to help his fellow baseball players.

Sports has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and that's definitely true for Minor League Baseball and its players.

Get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App

ESPN's Jeff Passan reported that hundreds of minor league players were released Thursday, with many more cuts expected to come. 

Price is trying to help, and according to baseball writer Francys Romero, the Dodgers pitcher will give money in June to players in the Dodgers' minor league system.

This is a very generous gesture from Price.

Price, as Romero notes, has yet to play for the Dodgers. He was traded, along with superstar outfielder Mookie Betts, from the Boston Red Sox to the Dodgers in February. He's probably never met a lot of these Dodgers minor leaguers, but he's still willing to help them through this difficult time.

We still don't know when Price will make his Dodgers debut because it remains unknown if the 2020 season will happen at all. The league and the MLBPA reportedly have been negotiating different return proposals, but no agreement has been announced at this time.

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.

Get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App

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.