Red Sox: Which young star will be left out of the future?

Apr 3, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts (2) take his cap off during the seventh inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 3, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts (2) take his cap off during the seventh inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports /

With the emerging young core of superstars on the Red Sox, there will probably be someone who doesn’t stay. Sadly, this is why it will be Xander Bogaerts.

Obviously, the Boston Red Sox have been the talk of Major League Baseball over the past couple of months. Part of that reason is the ascension of their young stars. That would include Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Andrew Benintendi. While Boston has no problem with spending money, it seems highly unlikely that all four spend their entire career here.

With that being said, let’s break down what I personally think is going to happen in the years to come. Boston is one of the biggest markets in MLB, and they don’t have a problem paying players. Just ask Carl Crawford, Pablo Sandoval, and David Price. Obviously anything could happen in that time frame, but I took into account the history of this ownership group with re-signing and acquiring players.

Betts is the best player of this group, and there shouldn’t be much of a debate. At only 24 years old, he almost beat out the best player in baseball for the MVP award last year. Even though it is early, it seems that Betts is continuing his dominance in 2017.

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While he is under control until 2021, it would be smart for Boston to start to offer him a contract. Betts is going to get a very big deal, as I foresee Boston trying to buy his three years of arbitration and adding three years of him as a free agent after the 2017 season. For comparison, Mike Trout got 6-years, $144 million from the Los Angeles Angels in a scenario like this. I could see Betts getting roughly the same deal, with probably $10-$15 million less off the total of the deal.

Benintendi is looking to be the clear favorite to win the 2017 AL Rookie of the Year award. He has already shown that he can be a dominant player on both sides of the ball. Making his debut in August of last year, he is under team control until 2019, and arbitration until 2022.

Obviously, if Benintendi continues his dominance, he will command a pretty penny on the open market. I can’t imagine that the front office doesn’t make the effort to re-sign him for a long-term deal. I could see him getting a smaller version of the possible Betts deal, for something like 5-years, $90 million.

Bradley Jr. is the wild card in this scenario. At age 27, he is by far the oldest of this bunch. He won’t enter free agency until his age 31 season, which is 2021. Also, JBJ has not been able to put together a complete season. Even last year, he struggled mightily during the second half. Over August and September, he hit just .217.

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Even with all these negative points, JBJ is one of the top three outfielders in all of baseball. His speed, instincts, and arm make him a threat to runners at any base. Add in the fact that he has been very vocal about how much he loves Boston, I foresee him signing a very team friendly deal. Due to his age, I could see Bradley signing a 5-year, $65 million deal as early as the end of the 2018 season.

That leaves the “odd man out”, Bogaerts. Listen, I am very high on Bogaerts’ potential. He has recorded 190+ hits in each of the last two seasons. Also, both those seasons he faded towards the end. But his value lies in WHEN he steps up to the plate. His highest batting average is when there is a high leverage situation (i.e. two runners on with no outs), hitting .297.

Here lies the problem: if I can notice all the skills that Bogaerts can bring to a team, so do all 30 GM’s in the league. Bogaerts will be the first of these four to hit free agency, after the 2019 season. He will be 27 years old entering free agency, and will be looking to try to get a deal of at least 7 years. His agent, Scott Boras, has a reputation for getting his player to sign for the most money possible.

Personally, I think that the front office for Boston is going to try to approach Bogaerts about an extension much like the way they did with Jon Lester. They will try to start the negotiation process next year, and will ultimately low-ball him. Entering the 2019 season, if they cannot complete a team-friendly extension with him, I expect them to deal him as a rental.

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While this is baseball’s definition of a “first-world problem”, it is something to keep your eyes on in the coming future. All four of these players are very talented, and Boston has been very smart in their player development choices over the past five years. With that being said, the tradition of a player spending their whole career with a team is almost impossible these days. And for Xander Bogaerts, it seems like he will be the odd man out.