The Boston Red Sox are reportedly planning to make a strategic move by extending a Qualifying Offer to Xander Bogaerts.
Bogaerts, who officially opted out of the remainder of his Red Sox contract on Monday morning, stood to earn $20M/year in each of the remaining seasons of his deal. This year’s Qualifying Offer is $19.65M. Considering he opted out because the Sox wouldn’t give him a raise, there’s absolutely no chance he accepts.
So why extend the QO at all?
It’s all about strategy.
Red Sox reportedly plan to extend Qualifying Offer to Xander Bogaerts
Teams can only extend QOs to their impending free agents if they’ve been on the roster for the entire season and have never received a QO before. If the Sox give one to Bogaerts, he will never be able to receive one again.
When Bogaerts inevitably rejects the QO, the Sox will be eligible for draft pick compensation. However, they will only receive that if Bogaerts signs elsewhere. In that scenario, the team that signs him would lose at least one draft pick as a penalty.
While some may applaud the Sox for this strategic thinking, it isn’t the right move where Bogaerts is concerned. Clearly, the Sox don’t seem too concerned with him anyway, or they never would have let him reach free agency in the first place. It’s a classic Chaim Bloom tactic in the same vein as keeping Triston Casas in the minor leagues until there was no chance of him losing his rookie eligibility this year. It’s all about the long game.
The obvious rebuttal is that Bloom needs to focus more on short-term, pressing matters, such as retaining Bogaerts and Rafael Devers. He’s spent the last three years playing the long game by rebuilding the farm system and trading away valuable players for prospects. Now, the farm has enough viable top-level talents and the payroll is low enough to build a legitimate contender, or at least, a watchable team.
Lowballing and insulting your cornerstone player all to possibly get another draft pick. Is this really what the Sox have become?