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MLB

Will Xander Bogaerts opt out of his contract with the Red Sox?

The Boston Red Sox have been unable to reach an agreement with their superstar shortstop before Opening Day, leaving the door open for Xander Bogaerts to go

Jeffrey May
Update:
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 02: Xander Bogaerts #2 of the Boston Red Sox reacts at home plate after his fourth inning home run against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on June 02, 2019 in New York City.   Jim McIsaac/Getty Images/AFP
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Jim McIsaacAFP

The offseason signing of Trevor Story seemed to give the Red Sox one of the most potent and productive infields in baseball, with Bean Town fans planning to see their boys play deep into the playoffs, but news that Xander Bogaerts has rejected the contract offer on Thursday may put those plans on hold.

Bogaerts has made it clear that he doesn’t intend to sign a new deal before the season opener in New York and also appeared to rule out the possibility of in-season negotiation.

“I’ve got a season coming up in front of me and I don’t want to put any of our teammates in that type of distraction. They don’t deserve it. We had time to get something done. It didn’t work out.”

Xander Bogaerts

The three-time All-Star shortstop is coming into the third year of a six-year $120 million extension, but can opt out after this season. Trevor Story is slated to play second base, but the former Rockies shortstop could be drafted in by Boston to take over that position if Bogaerts chooses to opt out. Bogaerts still has $60 million and three years guaranteed to run on his deal if he chooses to stay with the Sox.

Third baseman Rafael Devers has also rejected an extension offer from the club so their powerful infield could need a significant rebuild if the worst comes to pass and they lose both players on the left side. Devers still has this season and 2023 to go before qualifying for free agency, but his price will only continue to rise if he hits the open market on the same form that he has produced up to now.

As a point of reference, the Braves signed Matt Olson to an eight-year $168 million extension last month, on a projected $12 million arbitration salary. His numbers and status are comparable to Devers and give a good idea of what it will cost Boston to keep him.

Devers has followed tradition and echoing Bogaerts has said that he is unwilling to negotiate once the season is underway. But in this the Red Sox are following a dangerous path, given the way that the market has rewarded top infielders in recent years.

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