Xander Bogaerts has opted out of the final three years of his contract with the Boston Red Sox and is now a free agent, according to a statement by the MLB Player’s Association.
Bogaerts opting out, while feared by Red Sox fans all season, was viewed by many league-wide reporters as inevitable. Chaim Bloom will have to compete with the rest of Major League Baseball’s front offices to give Xander Bogaerts the most attractive deal possible.
Given the Red Sox recent unwillingness to spend money to keep homegrown superstars combined with Bogaerts’ representation by Scott Boras, the chance of Bogaerts wearing a Sox uniform next season seems to be shrinking.
Boston Red Sox supposedly have Xander Bogaerts high on their list
The Red Sox began the offseason telling reporters that re-signing Bogaerts was their top priority and that they would “get started right away.” Reporting by the Boston Sports Journal indicated that Red Sox brass, including John Henry and Tom Werner, had met with Bogey multiple times at the start of the offseason.
More details will likely come out, telling fans which side walked away first from negotiations. All we can currently do is imagine how those proceedings went. Did the Red Sox continue to low-ball Bogaerts on an extension and not offer him a contract that a player of his caliber deserves, or is Bogaerts interested in getting the largest deal possible, even if it has to come elsewhere in the league?
Reading into Chaim Bloom’s quotes at the postseason presser will lead you to believe that the low-ball scenario is more likely.
Bloom told reporters:
"“We want him here on a deal that we’re going to look back on and say, ‘This was great for everybody.’”"
Fans and league officials would say that a deal that’s “great for everybody” is any deal that keeps your franchise cornerstone shortstop in Boston for life, but Bloom probably may not see it that way.
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Maybe when he says a deal that’s “great for everybody,” he’s talking about a deal like the one they offered before this season. An offer that a friend of Bogaerts’ said to the New York Post was a “slap in the face” and left Bogaerts emotional at a preseason press conference.
While it’s still possible that Bogaerts re-signs with Boston in free agency, the front office needed to present an attractive offer before he could opt out to ensure they had the best chance of keeping him.
Boston will likely have to compete against Dave Dombrowski of the Phillies, among other teams.
Dombrowski, who the Red Sox fired for signing a series of regrettably expensive long-term deals, has shown a willingness to spend on contracts at a much higher level than Bloom currently is. The Phillies also need a shortstop and just lost the World Series. Throwing a 30 million-dollar-a-year contract at Bogaerts would be a no-brainer for them.
Losing another franchise centerpiece like Bogaerts two years after trading away Mookie Betts would be a travesty for the Sox. Chaim Bloom and Boston Red Sox ownership need to get their act together and make sure Bogaerts retires in Boston.