When the news broke late Wednesday that Xander Bogaerts was signing an 11-year, $280M contract with the San Diego Padres after being a member of the Boston Red Sox organization since he was 16 years old, people had a lot of questions.
The Padres are paying him that much?
What did the Red Sox offer?
After everything that happened with Mookie Betts?
What the [insert expletive of your choosing here]?
Chaim Bloom reveals Red Sox essentially gave up in Xander Bogaerts bidding war
On Friday night, Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom spoke with MassLive‘s Chris Cotillo and revealed that the Sox were pretty sure Bogaerts was gone by midday on Wednesday, even the day before. Worse yet, it sounds like the Sox took themselves out of the race over a day before it ended:
"“It got to a point to we just weren’t going to get to,” said Bloom, who has not spoken to Bogaerts since the signing. “That’s not to say that, emotionally, it wasn’t hard, but I don’t think there’s any sense in beating around the bush on that. The endpoint speaks for itself. We just weren’t going to get there… we do ultimately have to make sound business and baseball decisions.”"
The best business and baseball decision would’ve been to value Bogaerts a year ago. Instead, they threw in the towel; they gave up. According to the Boston Globe, the Sox’ last offer to Bogaerts was six years, $160M. Several other teams offered at least $200M. In the end, after months of ‘He’s Option A,’ he’s ‘The top priority,’ and ‘We want him back,’ they weren’t even close.
They were never close, though, and that’s why it was always hard to believe they actually wanted to keep him here. Last spring, days after signing Trevor Story to a six-year, $140M contract with money they could’ve just as easily given to Bogaerts, they made their unofficial captain a jaw-droppingly low offer, if you can even call it that. Story, coming off an injury-ridden, unimpressive season, got the sixth-biggest contract in franchise history, and the Sox offered Bogaerts, who’d won them two championships in six years, one additional season and $30M tacked onto the end of the team-friendly deal he’d requested before the 2019 season. That contract ran through 2025 and had a vesting option for 2026.
Laughably, Bloom tried to claim that he values ‘building around homegrown talent,’ something the Sox have now failed to do several times. The cycle of throwing money at unproven free agents while undervaluing and lowballing homegrown stars is the tale as old as time for this club.
"“I also fundamentally believe that building around homegrown talent is also something that’s really important to the organization.”"
If that’s the case, where’s Rafael Devers’ extension? The Sox can certainly afford it now. (They always could.)
For months, Bloom, Sam Kennedy, and ownership have tried to convince the masses that they’re still focused on winning. Bloom reiterated that in expletive-laden fashion on Friday:
"“The bottom line is that this to me is about winning and I don’t care how much (expletive) I take if it gets the organization where it needs to go. That’s tough here when what that means is seeing a great homegrown player go sign with someone else, especially when we are trying to win. We still have to make the right decisions.”"
But it’s hard to believe Bloom or any other member of the leadership team when they say they’re trying to win, but continuously don’t do right by their proven winners. He says they have to make the right decisions, but most of their decisions have been wrong, including the year-long insulting handling of Bogaerts. The Sox spend money, no one can deny that, but it’s easy to point out that more often than not, that money is going to the wrong players.
Speaking of, several players questioned the organization’s commitment to winning this year, including Bogaerts and Story, who until this week, was the only player Bloom had signed to a deal longer than two years. Throughout the year, he made several pleas for the Sox to keep Bogaerts:
"“I don’t see how we get better if we’re losing him.”"
If Bogaerts plays out the entirety of his Padres contract, he will have spent more of his big-league career in one of their uniforms than Boston’s. The Sox shouldn’t have offered him 11 years of $280M, but they never made him a fair offer, either. If they’d offered him anything close to his projections, it would be a different situation, but they didn’t. To throw Bloom’s own words back at him, it only ‘got to a point’ they ‘weren’t going to get to’ because they never planned to get there in the first place.
If they’d wanted to extend Bogaerts, they would’ve paid him last March, not Story.
If they’d truly cared about coming to terms, they would’ve reopened negotiations during the season, something to which Bogaerts repeatedly stated he was open.
And if they’d truly considered him their top priority when the season ended, they would’ve thrown money at him while other teams were preoccupied with the postseason.
Instead, they went the Jon Lester route and let Bogaerts get a taste of free agency despite his declarations of wanting to play in Boston for his entire career. The Lester debacle is one that principal owner John Henry has publicly acknowledged was a serious mistake, and yet the Sox clearly haven’t learned from it.
There is nothing Bloom or anyone else at the Sox can say to make this better, though clearly, he can make it worse.
Bogaerts is gone, and will never return.
Except, of course, when the Padres come to Fenway Park in 2024.