Xander Bogaerts is no longer a member of the Boston Red Sox. The San Diego Padres swooped in and stole the star shortstop Wednesday night, landing him on an 11-year, $280 million contract. We’re not here to argue the Sox should’ve matched that, though.
In fact, even esteemed MLB insider Ken Rosenthal questioned this deal (subscription required). Any contract taking a non-perennial MVP candidate through their age-40 season, regardless of a team’s spending power, is questionable.
Bogaerts will make $25.45 million per year through the year 2033. Would that have been financially prudent for the Red Sox? Absolutely not. It’s not for anybody! Were the Padres desperate to land another star based on their behavior with Trea Turner and Aaron Judge, coupled with the apparent worry Manny Machado might opt out of his contract after next season? Yes.
The problem is the Red Sox allowing it to reach this point. They had various opportunities to acquiesce, even when they began tearing down the operation after the 2019 season with the Mookie Betts trade.
Boston’s payrolls have never really been onerous. They are always among the top in baseball — which is to be expected given the market they’re in — but they’re rarely ever pushing the envelope. When they did for a moment under Dave Dombrowski, they eventually fired him despite the fact he brought a World Series to Beantown.
The Red Sox aren’t at fault for matching Xander Bogaerts’ deal — they’re at fault for letting it get to this point.
The Red Sox made additions during these Winter Meetings. Masataka Yoshida, Kenley Jansen and Chris Martin have been signed. Those are moves. But the Sox were out-bid or turned down by Bogaerts, Andrew Heaney, Tommy Kahnle, Mitch Haniger and Zach Eflin … at least what we know so far.
Had they taken care of Bogaerts sooner — perhaps when they had realized Bogaerts was out-performing his deal as the high-profile free agent shortstop classes were approaching — an 11-year deal wouldn’t have even been imaginable. If Scott Boras was on board with him signing a six-year, $120 million extension before the 2019 season, it’s obvious concessions could’ve been made before it reached a boiling point with his opt-out clause.
In the end, the Sox’s reported six-year, $162 million offer this offseason wasn’t a “cheap” bid … but it was five years and $118 million short. That’s what happens when you don’t make competitive offers while you control a player and then let him hit free agency for the market to decide.
Some teams are desperate. Some teams value having a good product on the field rather than hawking their Quickbooks. Some teams are so starved for a World Series that money isn’t an issue.
For the Sox, perhaps their modern day dominance has paved the way for apathy, particularly among this ownership group, because it clearly doesn’t value front office stability or rewarding iconic homegrown talent as much as it probably should.