The Boston Red Sox are still searching for a permanent solution in left field eight years after pushing a superstar out of town.
Remember when the Boston Red Sox faced the annual dilemma of filling the shortstop position? Ever since the team’s relationship with Nomar Garciaparra soured midway through the 2004 season, the Red Sox struggled to find a suitable long-term replacement, leading to a revolving door at the position that lasted for years.
Then Xander Bogaerts came along. His breakout season in 2015 cemented his status as the shortstop of the present and future, stabilizing a position that had long been in flux. Problem solved.
Except now that problem has merely shifted to left field. The Red Sox have a rich history of filling the position with elite talent, from Ted Williams to Carl Yastrzemski to Jim Rice. They got 7+ seasons of Manny Ramirez in the prime of his career, when he was the most feared right-handed bat in the game. He was an All-Star in every full season that he spent in Boston and helped the team capture a pair of World Series titles.
Then he too was sent packing when the organization tired of Manny being Manny. Ramirez was shipped to the Los Angeles Dodgers prior to the 2008 trade deadline so that the Red Sox could wash their hands of a player they determined had become a problem in the clubhouse. Except his departure opened up an entirely new problem on the field.
Since Ramirez last began a season in Boston, the Red Sox have cycled through a different left fielder on Opening Day in each of the last eight seasons.