Red Sox must trade shortstop Xander Bogaerts before it’s too late

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 09: Xander Bogaerts
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 09: Xander Bogaerts /

Xander Bogaerts is set to become a free agent after the 2019 season. The Red Sox must trade him while his value is high in order to receive a decent return.

What makes up a good, quality shortstop today in Major League Baseball? In an era where the game is littered with superstars at the position, what attributes make them so good? Power? Speed? Defensive prowess? The answer is all of the above.

Household names like Carlos Correa, Corey Seager and Francisco Lindor always make their way into any conversation regarding a quality shortstop. Their leadership skills, athletic ability, and passion entangled with excitement for what this great game has to offer is what makes them great.

This flair and excitement these players share is revolutionizing how fans today can get more into the game. The bat flips, the glove-to-glove flips in the field and the enticing, contagious smiles from players like these three are helping them become feared by opposing pitchers and loved by their teammates, since their respective arrivals.

Flying under the radar in this era of great young shortstops is the Boston Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts. A native of Aruba, Bogaerts broke onto the scene in 2013 just in time to make Boston’s playoff roster and help them win a World Series at the ripe young age of 20.

He has never been worthy of a double take for his worth in the field but does do a solid job on defense, not drawing too much attention to himself for flashing the leather. One tool that Bogaerts has shown us is his ability to hit. Hitting for average, and power as well as honing in the ability to use all fields only helps Bogaerts’ stock on the trade market.

An All-Star in 2016, Bogaerts hit .294/.356/.446 en route to his second consecutive Silver Slugger Award. After a down 2014 campaign, Bogaerts bounced back in 2015 hitting a career-best .320 over 156 games. 2016 was the season in which Bogaerts’ power finally broke out, mashing a career-best 21 home runs.

Over the past three seasons, Bogaerts ranks 4th among shortstops with 12.4 Wins Above Replacement (WAR), trailing only Correa, Seager and Lindor. His ability to hit to all fields-over a quarter of his hits being opposite field knocks-makes him a valuable asset to any team in need of a shortstop.

Will Scott Boras allow Xander Bogaerts to sign an extension with Boston?

Overall, Bogaerts would be a huge improvement to a lot of teams given his abilities. The Red Sox have a tough decision ahead of them. They will be looking to extend star outfielder Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Junior, and Xander Bogaerts.

Unfortunately for Red Sox fans, they most likely will only sign two of them. Betts should be their main priority, however, and Bogaerts and Bradley Jr. are both represented by super agent Scott Boras.

Boras is known for being the best of the best and getting his clients the best contracts they can receive. This usually means that Boras will not advise his high-profile clients to sign extensions before hitting free agency.

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Bogaerts, who becomes a free agent at the conclusion of the 2019 season, will likely demand more on the open market than Bradley Jr. will only because of the low supply of quality shortstops to hit the open market in the years to come as well as Bradley’s struggles at the plate.

With the Red Sox being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs each of the last two seasons, they are looking for a big improvement in the form of a power-bat and could also bode well in adding another quality reviler to solidify the bullpen.

Now seems like the perfect time to trade one of the game’s best shortstops. If the Red Sox want to retain Betts he likely will demand a $200 million dollar contract and Boston should have no problem giving that to their premier right fielder.

Bogaerts is 25 years-old meaning he is in the prime years of his playing career. By the time he hits the open market in 2019, he will be 27 years of age. And as he’s had little to no injury problems up to this point, that can partly be contributed to his youth.

Playing shortstop at the Major League level is certainly anything but forgiving on the player’s body. We don’t know how well Bogaerts will age, and the risk of signing a 27-year-old shortstop to a long-term deal may cause Boston to be hesitant to commit to him with a lucrative contract.

If he is traded, the Red Sox will need to at least find a stopgap for the time being while their top prospect at the position, CJ Chatham, isn’t expected to arrive until at least 2019 while 16-year-old Danny Diaz was just signed out of Venezuela will be pretty far behind in development as well.

Next: Risk/Reward Free Agents for the Red Sox

We’ve watched as President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski traded away top prospects to get perennial CY Young candidate Chris Sale, among others. A trade that includes Xander Bogaerts could help the Red Sox replenish their now watered-down system.