Is there any way back to Boston for Xander Bogaerts or the Red Sox?
With reports that the ties have been cut between Xander Bogaerts and the Boston Red Sox, we wonder if the bridges between the two have been truly burned
Xander Bogaerts is one of the Fantastic Four short stops on the market in free agency. Along with Trea Turner, Danby Swanson, and Carlos Correa, his movements will make a huge splash in the league, wherever he ends up.
Through all of the negotiations, Boston has been the firm favorite to hang onto him, although reports coming out in the last day or so have cast that in a different light.
Two MLB reporters, Peter Gammons and ESPN’s Buster Olney, tweeted Wednesday that they had sources who believed that Bogaerts had “severed ties” with the Red Sox and would not be returning.
With Bogaerts hitting .307 with 15 home runs and 73 RBIs for an .833 OPS this season, he managed to bring home the American League Silver Slugger Award at shortstop for the fifth time in his career.
So why would the Red Sox not have him back? It seems inconceivable that they would simply walk away, given that his departure would leave them needing to replace him and all of the likely candidates are either spoken for or too expensive. With Rafael Devers’ contract up at the end of 2023, the Sox will want to keep their All-Star shortstop so that they can concentrate on keeping their infield intact. And in fact, Bogaerts’ agent Scott Boras has denied that the door is closed on Boston.
“Xander is open to any and all voices in the free agent market,” says Boras. “We have not closed any doors on anyone.”
With Trea Turner seemingly earmarked for Philadelphia, and the Dodgers sniffing around Carlos Correa, the replacement for losing Bogaerts would seem to be Swanson, and there is an argument that this could be the outcome that Boston will accept. At two years younger than Bogaerts, his price tag is expected to be in the seven-year, $154 million range, making him the bargain buy of the four.
If Bogaerts does go, it would likely be the Padres or Dodgers who pick him up. The Dodgers seem to be focused on Correa, but they are playing their cards very close to their chest, and it would not be out of the realms of possibility for the Padres to nab Bogaerts and shift Fernando Tatis, Jr. into the outfield.
The question is whether the Boston fans would take another marquee player being cut loose lying down. They have never let management live down the Mookie Betts non-signing and there are already calls rumbling along the tracks for John Henry’s Fenway Sports Group to sell the club. Interestingly, Fenway has recently put English soccer giant Liverpool FC, which they also own, onto the market which could indicate that they are trying to free up capital for investment in the Red Sox.
The biggest stumbling block for the Red Sox signing Bogaerts would seem to be his age. While he is likely to get an offer in the six-to-seven-year area, he will be looking to protect the back end of his career with an eight or nine-year deal, something seen as a step too far by most insiders.
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