Why wouldn’t the Boston Red Sox stretch for Xander Bogaerts?
With the news that Xander Bogaerts has come to an agreement with the San Diego Padres for 11 years and $280 million, we wonder why Boston thought that was too much
The off season started with the biggest names in the league on the move. With the biggest waves being made in the middle infield when four elite-level shortstops all entered free agency. Two have now signed deals which see them swap coasts.
Trea Turner headed east earlier in the week when he finalized a deal for 11 years and $300 million with the Phillies. Late on Wednesday, Xander Bogaerts came to an agreement which will see him head the other way, coming to terms with the San Diego Padres for 11 years and $280 million.
This leaves only Dansby Swanson and Carlos Correa unsigned, with indications that the Dodgers and Correa were close to a deal seemingly undermined by the sudden announcement that the Dodgers are no longer pursuing him due to a large portion of Dodger fandom being “upset” by the prospect of having Correa on their team.
Is Bogaerts’ deal really too much?
There is surely a ton of money in the league, with Justin Verlander signing a deal that sees him net $43.3 million per year and the top name in the pileup, Aaron Judge, signed a deal with the Yankees that will see him earn $109,589 per day for the rest of his career.
Even as shortstops go, Turner’s deal is worth $20 million more than Bogaerts’. So why did the Red Sox think that this deal was too costly? And why do so many Boston Red Sox fans see this as a massive overpay?
The first thing to knock on the head is the issue of age. One of the most popular refrains is that Bogaerts is older than Turner, sitting on the wrong side of 30 for such a big-money deal. For these people, the issue isn’t so much the cash amount, but the 11 years, which would tie the Red Sox to a potentially 40-year-old shortstop.
This is flawed for several reasons, the first of which is the age itself. Bogaerts is only eight months older than Trea Turner and two months younger than Aaron Judge, and would in this scenario, Bogaerts would turn 40 around the All-Star break of his final contracted year. And there is nothing to say that he would need to stay at shortstop. Toward the end of his contract, he could be moved to second base, and then to designated hitter, for example.
Yes, you have to be quick to cover shortstop, and the position suits a younger player, but there are ways to keep talent on your roster without having to simply cut them loose. Alex Rodriguez moved over to third base and had some of his best years at that position.
The Red Sox are in a financial mess
The real reason behind the lack of will from the Red Sox to pay Bogaerts’ price is likely to have more to do with the financial mess that owners The Fenway Sports Group find themselves in. With the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins and the EPL’s Liverpool FC as well as the Sox, they are spread pretty thin for investment and in fact earlier in November announced that they were putting Liverpool FC up for sale in a move likely designed to free up capital to invest in their prime holding, the Boston Red Sox.
Much of their focus was on creating a breakaway European Super League in soccer, and they were a prime mover in the venture, one which collapsed under heavy criticism across Europe as being detrimental to the sport. This collapse effectively made Liverpool simply too expensive to carry.
With news of a possible Saudi-Qatari partnership in the Liverpool sale, it looks like Red Sox fans will simply have to hold their nose and hope for the best.
How will Bogaerts fit in in San Diego?
The Padres came within a whisker of the World Series when they stunned the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS and with the addition of Bogaerts they move into a different class. Already having players like Juan Soto, Manny Machado, and Fernando Tatis, Jr, they are well positioned to become a west coast powerhouse, even perhaps eclipsing the Dodgers themselves.
With Tatis’ injury and suspension forcing the acquisition of Ha-Seong Kim last season to fill the shortstop role, the expectation is now that Bogaerts will take over the job and Kim will move to second base. Jake Cronenworth will be expected to slide over to first base and Tatis will head out to right field, forcing Juan Soto to shift to left field.