Will the Red Sox give Xander Bogaerts a new contract?
When the Boston Red Sox season ended on Wednesday night, everyone braced themselves for a long fall and winter of Xander Bogaerts rumors.
Because even though the front office has officially deemed him their ‘No. 1 priority’ and said they’re getting to work on negotiations ‘right away,’ their past dealings with homegrown stars have given the Fenway Faithful zero reason to believe that their captain is staying. Past precedent suggests that Bogaerts will be winning a World Series ring with a new team within the next two years. That’s what happened for Jon Lester and Mookie Betts, anyway.
But hours after the end-of-season press conference on Thursday morning, much of which centered on the topic of Bogaerts, Sean McAdam of Boston Sports Journal reported that the wheels are already in motion:
"“… multiple sources have told BostonSportsJournal.com that it already has. The Red Sox have wasted little time getting to work on getting a new deal done with Bogaerts. The team, including principal owner John Henry and team chairman Tom Werner, has met with Bogaerts “several times,” in the last week, a source said.”"
Could it really be that easy?
Of course not, put your champagne and sparkling cider back in the fridge. McAdam also noted that Bogaerts’ agent, Scott Boras, was not present for these chats:
"“One source said no new proposals were exchanged at the meetings, which were conducted without the presence of Bogaerts’ agent, Scott Boras. Rather, the meetings were held to emphasize to Bogaerts that the team wants to retain him and will make him its top priority.”"
Well, that’s not nothing.
It was already public knowledge, even confirmed by Bogaerts himself, that the club hadn’t made a new offer since the spring and that there hadn’t been any official negotiations. However, speaking without Boras may actually help things along. The super-agent is known for encouraging his clients to dive into free agency to get the most lucrative deals. Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer, and Gerrit Cole are among his many ‘crème de la crème’ clients.
If Bogaerts doesn’t opt out and takes a deal with the Sox sometime before the World Series ends, it wouldn’t be the first time he went against his agent’s advice. In the spring of 2019, Bogaerts approached the Sox about an extension and told Boras to make it happen. The result was a six-year extension, but a very team-friendly one. By the end of the year, Bogaerts was an All-Star, had finished fifth in American League MVP voting, and won his third Silver Slugger award; the deal was immediately a bargain. He’s more than earned a raise.
Red Sox ownership has come under fire for shying away from the media since trading Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers in February 2020, among other justified gripes. Between avoiding speaking publicly on club matters and their focus on Liverpool FC and the newly-acquired Pittsburgh Penguins, among other endeavors, the belief in Boston is that Fenway Sports Group is not longer prioritizing their original team. Not appearing at Thursday’s press conference did little to refute that claim, but getting a deal done with Bogaerts in the coming weeks would. If ownership wants fans to believe them, they need to show up and pay up.
Otherwise, fans won’t, either.