It’s time for Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts to step up
There have been reports about Xander Bogaerts potentially switching positions to give Chaim Bloom flexibility with this loaded free agent class. This news gave Boston Red Sox fans hope, or fear, of potentially signing Carlos Correa or Trevor Story.
While these reports seemed credible, Bogaerts shot them down real quick, according to Jen McCaffrey of The Athletic.
"“I’m a shortstop. I’ve seen all that stuff and sometimes it’s like do I even exist?” Bogaerts said."
Bogaerts added that the team hasn’t discussed a position change with him and he’s been working hard to improve defensively.
Bogaerts is incredibly important to the Red Sox and has been with the team longer than anyone else, but a true veteran should be willing to do whatever it takes for his team to succeed. If that means moving positions, then he should.
He is a great hitter, but isn’t anything special defensively. An argument can actually be made that he is bad defensively; Bogaerts had a 0.3 defensive WAR last season. Carlos Correa is, statistically, the best defender in MLB, boasting a 2.9 defensive WAR, according to ESPN. Story is also better defensively with a 1.6 defensive WAR.
Bogaerts has stated that he is working on strengthening his defense, but that is irrelevant in this situation. This is a case of being a team player and wanting to win as many games as possible.
He would never come out of the lineup, his bat is too valuable, and he knows this. Moving to second base would give him a better chance at getting his third ring.
The only logical reason I see for him insisting on the fact that he is a shortstop is to boost his value. Bogaerts can opt out of his contract after this season, and has expressed interest in doing so. His market will be vast and he can potentially get a large deal. This is scary to think because Xander is the face of the Red Sox, along with Rafael Devers.
How Bloom approaches this will be interesting to see because this could potentially block the signing of a big name free agent, like Correa or Story, and could create conflict between Bogaerts and management.
While I love Bogaerts, and he is a primary leader on the team, I think that he needs to step up and take one for the team here. He would, surely, perform better at second base, and the Red Sox would be a significantly better team.