The Red Sox need to build the team around Xander Bogaerts
The Boston Red Sox are beginning to write a new chapter. As they look towards the future they should focus on Xander Bogaerts as their foundation.
It’s time for the Red Sox to move in a new direction and that’ll all start this winter. Not only are they in the prowl for a new general manager but several players will be hitting the market when the season ends. With gaps in the lineup to fill and the pressure to keep the budget as close to the CBT as possible, Boston needs to find an identity. Luckily for them, they already have it.
This past offseason long-time Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts was rewarded for his tenure and dedication with a brand new 6-year/$120M extension that kicks in next season. Many will say that Mookie Betts or J.D. Martinez is the face of the Red Sox, but in my eyes it’s Xander.
With the futures of Mookie and J.D. up in the air, it’s hard to build a team around them. Once again, with Bogey inked for the better part of the next decade, he can be the foundation for this squad.
Bogaerts came onto the scene during the 2013 season and would soon find himself contributing to a World Series championship that year. Since then he’s done nothing but become one of the best shortstops in the game today.
It took the Red Sox nearly ten years to replace Nomar Garciaparra but it finally feels as if they have in Xander. Despite only being 26 years old he’s a veteran force for this organization and has taken on the mentor role.
Throughout this season Red Sox Nation got to see exactly what Xander can do on the field but we also got a glimpse into what he can do off of it. At the plate, this season Bogey was automatic at a .309/.383/.556/.940 clip with 33 HR/ 52 2B. He was like a damn Terminator in 2019 and his only mission was to destroy baseballs. Oh yeah, he went 3-4 today with 2 RBI, 1 BB, and a dinger.
One of the few highlights of this season has been the emergence of Rafael Devers as a force at third base. He did things this season that haven’t been done in a Red Sox uniform since Ted Wiliams. A lot of that is on him, but he also has been spending plenty of time with Bogey being a mentor/big brother.
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More often than not over the course of the year, the camera would catch Raffy and Xander sitting together in the dugout or chatting after defensive plays. It’s clear the impact that Bogaerts has had on Rafael in his young career and his work ethic is rubbing off on the third baseman. If Boston wants to keep the budget low, they can use prospects like Michael Chavis and Marco Hernandez and have Bogey run the infield.
It’s going to be damn near impossible for the Red Sox to retain both Martinez and Betts and with a lot of uncertainty going ahead, they may lose both in the near future. Xander is going to be the heart of this team for the next six years and has earned his spot as the leader of the team. Whether or not he set out to be the defacto captain of the squad but that’s exactly what he is.
I don’t know how Boston is going to manage to improve this team while also saving on the budget. They’ve become a team that will spend in order to gain success and this year we learned that spending more doesn’t necessarily mean winning.
There are some solid bones and positives with this current roster that can bring the Sox back to prominence. Having Xander be the focal point of the lineup for the next handful of years is a hell of a start as well.
Though he won’t come out and say it, Xander Bogaerts is the leader of the Red Sox. If FSG wants to get back on the winning track then it all starts with building around Bogey. They can’t control where their free-agents go but they can control who they bring in to accent Xander. As we head into the offseason they need to draw up their plans with the budget and what pieces can work the best with Xander’s talents in mind.