Xander Bogaerts signed with the Padres on the final day of the Winter Meetings, agreeing to a huge 11-year, $280M deal.
Despite speculation that the Red Sox had made a late bid to re-sign the shortstop, “that was definitely not what our impression was throughout the day and even the day before,” Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom told MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.
The signing officially ended Bogaerts’ time with the Red Sox, a tenure that began when Bogaerts was an international signing in August 2009 and lasted through 10 Major League seasons, two World Series championship teams, and four All-Star appearances for the shortstop.
Bogaerts signed a six-year, $120M contract extension with the Sox prior to the 2019 season, but chose to exercise his opt-out clause after the first three years of the extension, thus paving the way for his departure from Boston and his new home in San Diego.
Last spring, the Red Sox both signed Trevor Story to a long-term free agent deal and offered Bogaerts only a one-year extension (worth $30M) on his contract, which were both widely interpreted as signs that the Sox weren’t counting on Bogaerts remaining beyond the date of his opt-out.
Bloom publicly said several times that the Red Sox did indeed want to retain Bogaerts, and reiterated that stance even in the aftermath of the shortstop’s deal with the Padres.
“We wouldn’t have said that if we didn’t mean it,” Bloom said. “I think it became clear to us as things went on that this [Bogaerts’ price tag] was going to go to a point that we just weren’t, irrespective of how we prioritize things, it just wasn’t something that we should do. It’s hard because of how much we love him. But it’s just the reality of the situation.”
In fairness to the Red Sox, nobody expected Bogaerts to receive anything near a $280M contract, and it is understandable why the organization didn’t want to reach that far.
That said, reports suggested the Red Sox offered Bogaerts six years and around $160M, which didn’t match the seven-year, $189M deal MLBTR projected Bogaerts would land on the open market.
In addition, the Sox have obviously had exclusive negotiating rights with Bogaerts for years, and could’ve more aggressively pursued an extension at any point before Bogaerts reached free agency.
Bogaerts joins Mookie Betts and Jon Lester as homegrown Red Sox stars who left the team (Bogaerts in free agency, Betts and Lester in trades) after extension talks didn’t materialize into a longer-term deal.
Of course, as Bloom noted, Bogaerts did already ink one extension with the team, putting him “at a different place in his career.” The Sox have signed relatively few extensions in recent years and only three extensions since Bloom took over the front office following the 2019 season.
Bloom told Cotillo that the team may change how it approaches extension candidates, perhaps with more of a focus on extending players to contracts before they reach salary arbitration.
“Anytime you have a situation where you have a homegrown player who wants to be here and we want him here and it doesn’t happen, I think those are fair questions to ask and those are questions we certainly need to ask ourselves,” Bloom said. “We haven’t, as an organization, always found a way to come together in those situations. I think it’s something to think about and assess.”
Rafael Devers presents the next big question for the Red Sox in this regard, as the star third baseman is set to reach free agency following the 2023 season.
In a separate piece, a source close to Devers told Cotillo that “Bogaerts’ decision would not make it more likely that Devers would want to leave Boston,” as much as Devers would be “disappointed” at no longer playing with his longtime friend.
Bloom reiterated his team’s interest in keeping Devers, saying that “Raffy, for sure, is somebody we want to build around.”
“I’ve said it, and I know we haven’t demonstrated this to the degree that we’ve hoped to, but we believe in building around homegrown talent. You want to do it in the right way,” Bloom said. “It’s certainly something we want to do as often as we can. … [Devers] has been somebody that we love and want right at the center of everything we hope to accomplish, obviously in 2023 but more importantly, in the years beyond, because those are the years he’s not under our control. We’re hoping to change that.”