Red Sox

Xander Bogaerts after Red Sox swept by Rays: "The most disappointing losses of the season"

Xander Bogaerts after Red Sox swept by Rays: "The most disappointing losses of the season"

The Red Sox looked as promising as they'd been all season long after they won two of three on the road against the Rays and three of four over the Yankees.

The trade deadline was looming, and while the Sox had a need for pitchers, there was hope they'd swing a deal to bolster they rotation or bullpen and give the best offense in baseball the help it needed. But the Red Sox were silent at the deadline, with Dave Dombrowski leaving it up to the team as constructed to make a run at the division or a Wild Card spot. 

Since the Red Sox won their third straight against the Yankees, they've lost four in a row, three of which coming against the Rays at home. Tampa finished 2019 with an 8-1 record in Boston, and Xander Bogaerts expressed the frustration around the team during their most recent skid, calling the last four games "the most disappointing of the season."

"It feels like getting one win is really hard to come by right now," Bogaerts said. "We’ve got to find a way to forget these last few games." 

Bogaerts has been Boston's best player this season, posting a .317/.397/.585 slash line with 25 home runs and 84 RBI. It's been a career year for the shortstop after signing a six-year extension in April, but the Red Sox haven't shown the same level of consistency. 

As of now, the Red Sox sit 10.5 games behind the Yankees in the AL East, five games behind the Indians for the top Wild Card spot and 3.5 games behind Tampa for the second spot. 

If the Red Sox' championship defense is going to extend into October, they'll have to figure this out themselves, without the help of the front office.

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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.