Red Sox: Xander Bogaerts’ flexibility bodes well for a contract extension
Xander Bogaerts has his eyes on retiring with the Red Sox
While the World Series is now underway, the Red Sox are beginning to look toward the offseason and beyond. Though their 2021 campaign didn’t quite end how we all would’ve liked, this team far exceeded any expectations set upon them this past spring. One thing that Chaim Bloom and his front office team will need to discuss is the future of Xander Bogaerts. The veteran infielder has an opt-out after next season and they shouldn’t waste any time before addressing it.
Granted, there are some more pressing matters on the table for Bloom this winter but that shouldn’t take away any focus from taking care of Bogaerts. ESPN’s Joon Lee reported that the current plan is for Bogey to exercise his opt-out after next year with the hopes of re-signing with the Red Sox, and playing out his career in Boston.
"“According to sources close to Bogaerts, the shortstop currently plans on opting out of the contract after 2022, but hopes to remain in Boston and finish his career with the Red Sox,” Lee said. “The three-time All-Star shortstop is also open to moving to second or third base down the road.”"
To some, the thought of opting out may seem outlandish but you have to remember that he took an incredibly friendly deal in order to get his first contract extension done as soon as possible. And he was the one that approached the Red Sox about the deal and offered to take less money so they could tend to other needs with the roster. Not something you tend to hear from a Scott Boras guy, and he should be rewarded for his loyalty.
In my eyes, the biggest part of Lee’s report is that Bogaerts is willing to change positions in order to get a new deal done with the Red Sox. This would open up the market for a free-agent shortstop and with Marcus Semien and Carlos Correa both available this offseason, the stars would align for Boston.
As far as third base is concerned, say J.D. Martinez opts-out this winter and doesn’t re-sign with Boston, Alex Cora could shift Rafael Devers to the DH slot and slide Xander over to the hot corner, a la Alex Rodriguez in New York. Granted, this is all still up in the air but with Bogaerts being willing to change positions to better suit the team, I could see the process getting expedited to not even get close to the possible opt-out next winter.
The Red Sox showed great faith in Xander when he was young and he gave them that same respect when he signed his last extension. Since then the salaries for shortstops has drastically increased so I don’t blame X for wanting to get a raise. The two-time world champion has been the foundation of the organization for quite some time and with another Silver Slugger nomination under his belt, he’s only getting better with age.
Bogaerts has always been about the name on the front of the jersey far more than the name on the back, but it’s time to pay this man. He’s given everything he has since getting called up back in 2013 and now should get rewarded for his efforts and level of play. It’s not often you have a player that is willing to change positions just to get a deal done easier, let alone try to make it as easy as possible on the organization twice.
Again, there are some seriously pressing matters on the table for Bloom this winter but this could be one of the easiest things he’ll be able to cross off his list. I’m not sure he’s going to stress too hard over the opt-out as it’s still a year away and other members of the team have possible exits on the board this winter, but he can get the ball rolling.
If there is some interest from either Semien or Correa and the Red Sox have a chance, I could see him trying to knock off two birds with one stone. Signing a top-level free agent while securing Bogey for the rest of his career, not a bad way to get things done. Boston is in great shape with the CBT and with money coming off the books in the near future, now could be the time to strike moneywise for Chaim.
Xander Bogaerts is the heart and soul of this team. More often than not the squad tends to go the way that he does. It speaks volumes to his character that he was willing to approach the team about a new deal not just once, but now twice. I would love nothing more than to see him spend his entire career at Fenway Park and eventually leave his cleats on the infield. Hopefully, things go as they’re being planned and a deal gets done without any hiccups.