Latest Xander Bogaerts contract projections will scare Red Sox fans

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 5: Xander Bogaerts #2 of the Boston Red Sox salutes the fans as he exits the game during the seventh inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on October 5, 2022 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 5: Xander Bogaerts #2 of the Boston Red Sox salutes the fans as he exits the game during the seventh inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on October 5, 2022 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /
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MLB insiders predict Xander Bogaerts will command large contract in free agency

If the insiders are to be believed, someone is going to pay Xander Bogaerts a lot of money this offseason.

Hopefully, that someone will be the Boston Red Sox, but past precedent isn’t encouraging, nor is Chaim Bloom’s latest update, cheapness framed as magnanimity.

Here’s what we know:

Last spring, the Sox offered to tack one more year and $30M onto Bogaerts’ current contract, which currently has four years remaining at $20M/year. This is the first year he can opt out, and he’s expected to do so because the Sox’ offer is meager and insulting.

On Friday, Jon Heyman ranked Bogaerts sixth in his Top 30 Free Agents list, speculating that he’ll get $225M over eight years. You don’t need to pull up the calculator app on your phone to know that’s a hefty raise.

Former MLB GM-turned-writer Jim Bowden also revealed his annual Top 25 free agents list in The Athletic (subscription required) and also put Bogaerts sixth, but with a slightly more conservative estimate: seven years, $196M.

Ideally, the Sox would find something in the middle, dollar-wise. $200M isn’t an absurd number for a four-time Silver Slugger who’s a proven winner in the postseason, a team leader in an increasingly-youthful clubhouse, and one of the best offensive players at his position for most of the last decade.

Bogaerts wants to stay in Boston, but he’s no fool. The Sox are offering him pennies, and he knows other teams will offer him the moon.

If anyone’s a fool, it’s the people in charge of this team, who regularly lowball their proven homegrown stars, and then turn around and throw wads of cash at unproven free agents. It didn’t work out when they tried to replace Jon Lester with David Price, and Mookie Betts is likely irreplaceable.

For all of the ‘intangible’ reasons, Bogaerts is, too.

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