Jonathan Villar shrewdly dropped a line drive to get a double play

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The Red Sox, leading 1-0 over the Brewers in the top of the third inning on Thursday afternoon, had a runner on first base and one out facing starter Jimmy Nelson. Mitch Moreland lined a 1-2 fastball up the middle. With the infield shifted, second baseman Jonathan Villar appeared to catch the line drive, but with his back turned to the infield, the ball trickled out of his glove. Villar quickly shoveled the ball to shortstop Orlando Arcia, who quickly fired the ball to first base to complete the 4-6-3 double play.

Xander Bogaerts, who was on first base, was confused by the whole situation. Red Sox manager John Farrell came out to argue that Villar intentionally dropped the line drive. If the umpires agreed, Moreland would be out but Bogaerts would stay on first base according to rule 6.05(l). The umpires did not agree, so the inning ended on Villar’s shrewd double play.

Watching the video, especially in slow motion, it does appear that Villar intentionally dropped the line drive, so he probably got away with that one. It didn’t matter, though, as the Red Sox won 4-1.

Bogaerts reportedly heading to the Padres for 11 years, $280 million

xander bogaerts
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SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Padres and Xander Bogaerts agreed to a blockbuster 11-year, $280 million contract, adding the All-Star slugger to an already deep lineup.

A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the contract to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it was pending a physical.

The Padres already had Fernando Tatis Jr. at shortstop, but he missed the entire season because of injuries and an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

San Diego also met with Aaron Judge and Trea Turner before the big stars opted for different teams. The Padres reached the NL Championship Series this year before losing to the Phillies.

“From our standpoint, you want to explore and make sure we’re looking at every possible opportunity to get better,” general manager A.J. Preller said before the Bogaerts deal surfaced. “We’ve got a real desire to win and do it for a long time.”

The 30-year-old Bogaerts was one of the headliners in a stellar group of free-agent shortstops that also included Turner, Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson.

Bogaerts, who’s from Aruba, terminated his $120 million, six-year contract with Boston after the season. The four-time All-Star forfeited salaries of $20 million for each of the next three years after hitting .307 with 15 homers and 73 RBIs in 150 games.

Bogaerts is a .292 hitter with 156 homers and 683 RBIs in 10 big league seasons – all with Boston. He helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013 and 2018.

Bogaerts becomes the latest veteran hitter to depart Boston after the Red Sox traded Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers in February 2020. Rafael Devers has one more year of arbitration eligibility before he can hit the market.

Bogaerts had his best big league season in 2019, batting .309 with a career-best 33 homers and 117 RBIs. He had 23 homers and 103 RBIs in 2018.

In 44 postseason games, Bogaerts is a .231 hitter with five homers and 16 RBIs.