Red Sox: Xander Bogaerts’ contract is now an intractable situation
Can the Red Sox trade Xander Bogaerts?
The Boston Red Sox and their star Xander Bogaerts are apparently at loggerheads over a new contract or extension. An irrevocable situation that could be resolved via a trade. The Red Sox offer was considered a low-ball one and rejected.
The Boston Red Sox and shortstop Bogaerts will divorce over irreconcilable differences. The differences are the standard (drum roll, please) money! Reports have surfaced that Bogaerts will move on after the season and exercise an opt-out in his contract. Is there a way out? Is a trade possible?
The current contract is fundamental, covering six years and $120 MM, and the average annual value is $20 MM, also the luxury tax salary. One contract line jumps out, a full no-trade, after seven years of service time. A thank you to agent Scott Boras.
Bogaerts is untradable unless that clause is removed, and enticement is (again, a drum roll) – money! In the early stages of the 2022 season, the contract situation is not weighing heavily on Bogaerts, who continues to pile up impressive numbers. Historically that is no surprise as the 29-year-old right-hand slugger has four Silver Slugger Awards and is a three-time All-Star.
In most instances stating someone is underpaid at $20 MM a year is laughable, but in the world of baseball – particularly shortstops – Bogaerts is. The Corey Seager contract set a very high bar, and for Boras, represents a viable contract target for Bogaerts. The years may not be the same, but that annual salary would be – a yearly value of $32.5 MM for Seager – is approachable.
In another era, the Red Sox would have already dished out the dough, which would be a nonissue. After the Mookie Betts situation, those days now appear in the rearview mirror, when Boston would hand out the going rate.
The Red Sox have the ultimate fallback for a Bogaerts’ exit with Trevor Story wandering back to short and letting the cards fall (again) at second base. The idea, however, is to retain something of value still. Would Boras even advise his client to waive his service time stipulation?
The Red Sox did some behind-the-scenes negotiations with Alex Gonzalez‘s representatives before he was traded to Boston. So there is a precedent, but undoubtedly Boras will have his client go on the open market. If magically Bogaerts becomes amicable to a waiver, then Chaim Bloom can trade for his usual stash of prospects. Don’t expect a future Mike Trout in that.
The next issue is still unresolved, and that is both a qualifying offer and draft compensation if Bogaerts departs. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic briefly covers that lingering issue from the recent labor dispute. Boston may or may not get compensation.
There is a passel of assumptions swirling around any of Bogaert’s movements. I am sure there is a possibility or two I have not touched upon, but from my view, the best option is getting a waiver on his no-trade, providing this Red Sox team continues to crater. With Boras, that waiver is a long shot.
Bogaerts is a solid citizen by baseball standards and is not publically pontificating about his contract situation. His leadership has always been quiet, and his approach to baseball as the consummate professional remains.
One possibility would be a delicious benefit to the organization and Bogaerts if the Red Sox turned it around this season with XB putting up spectacular numbers. The season is invigorated, and Bogaerts becomes possibly the most valuable offseason free agent. Guess I can dream.