How Carlos Correa opting out could impact Xander Bogaerts’ future with the Red Sox
If you’re a Boston Red Sox fan, the news that Carlos Correa is reportedly planning to opt out of his contract with the Minnesota Twins after one season and wade back into the free-agent waters should concern you vis-à-vis Xander Bogaerts.
1. Correa opting out could influence Bogaerts to do the same
When Correa became a free agent last winter, he signed a one-year deal with the Twins for $35.1M with player options for 2023 and 2024. That kind of deal gives him all the power, not to mention a hefty salary.
Bogaerts is currently pondering whether or not to opt out of his own, much more team-friendly deal, which carries an average annual salary of $20M. Starting this offseason, he has an opt-out after each of the remaining four years of the extension he initiated in the spring of 2019.
While Bogaerts has been adamant about wanting to stay in Boston, if the Sox don’t treat him with the respect he’s earned, he could follow Correa’s suit, find the highest bidder, and take a deal that gives him the upper hand.
2. Red Sox ownership loves paying free agents instead of homegrown stars
Operating under the assumption that Sox brass were being truthful when they said they plan to invest in big-league talent this offseason, Correa is exactly the kind of high-priced free agent who’ll have ownership pretending Bogaerts never existed.
It’s an outrageous business practice, but Sox fans have seen it play out too many times. The Sox wouldn’t pay Jon Lester or Mookie Betts, but they shelled out for Carl Crawford, Pablo Sandoval, and David Price.
While it’s true that Correa is two years younger than Bogaerts (who turned 30 earlier this month), a better defender (he won both the Gold and Platinum Glove awards in 2021), and hits for power more, Bogaerts is the overall better offensive player; his four Silver Slugger awards to Correa’s zero reflect that. In comparing the two shortstops’ hitting since 2015, when Correa debuted, Bogaerts has him beat in by a mile in most metrics. Games played, runs scored, hits, doubles, triples, RBI, stolen bases, walks, batting average, on-base percentage, total bases, win probability added, the list goes on and on. And even with fewer home runs, Bogaerts has a .835 OPS; Correa’s is .836. Correa has a higher defensive WAR; Bogaerts outdoes him in offensive WAR.
Bogaerts is also always in the game. Only once since his brief, but memorable 2013 debut has he played fewer than 136 games: the 60-game 2020 season. Correa, who made his debut two years later, has only exceeded 136 games three times, including this year.
And of course, Bogaerts has won two rings and didn’t have to cheat to get them.
3. Bogaerts is the perfect fit
As evidenced time and again, team chemistry can make or break a club. Bogaerts, who’s been with the organization since he was 16 and with the big-league club since he was 20, is not only beloved by his teammates but also considered by most within and outside the organization to be the unofficial captain. Pedro Martinez and David Ortiz touched on the importance of Bogaerts’ character recently, saying that it would be impossible to replace what the decorated infielder brings to the table.
However, Correa was also at the forefront of the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal, and his cocky, unrepentant attitude in its aftermath made him Public Enemy No. 1. Bringing him to Boston and reuniting him with Alex Cora would only bring that drama back to the surface. If the Sox want to move on from their own misbehaviors from the late 2010s, they shouldn’t pay someone who is a living reminder of another, even worse one.
Correa is a talented player, but Bogaerts is better in many ways, and most importantly, he’s the better fit for Boston.