Xander Leaves For San Diego
On Wednesday night, the Boston Red Sox lost one of their most beloved players when Xander Bogaerts signed a free-agent deal with the San Diego Padres (11 years, $280 million). It’s a move that has left many Red Sox fans feeling frustrated and angry (including myself). After spending ten seasons with the team and becoming one of the city’s favorite athletes, his departure truly stings.
Xander’s Impact on the Red Sox
Since his debut in 2013, Xander Bogaerts has been an integral part of the Boston Red Sox organization. He helped them win the World Series in 2013 and 2018 and was a reliable presence in the middle infield and the heart of the lineup.
His bat-on-ball skills were top-notch, and he was always willing to put in extra work to improve his defensive game (See 2022 metrics). He also displayed outstanding leadership qualities on and off the field, making him an all-around great player and person. Quite frankly, he was someone you’d want to build your franchise around.
Looking Ahead To 2023
Looking ahead to next season, the Red Sox will now have a gaping hole in the middle of the lineup and their clubhouse. Many fans have suggested a replacement such as free-agent Carlos Correa, but that looks extremely unlikely. If they couldn’t financially commit to Bogaerts, it’s hard to imagine they would for Correa. If I had to guess, we’re looking more at a Jean Segura type of replacement as the team waits for top prospect Marcelo Mayer.
Besides the need for a bat, the team still needs starting pitching, as the rotation has question mark after question mark. They do have an estimated 45 million to spend before the luxury tax to hopefully add improvements. But even with an improved bullpen, this is still a last-place team in the AL East as currently constructed. Bloom will need to get creative.
What This Means For Rafael Devers
The Sox might face an uphill battle if/and when attempting to extend Rafael Devers’s contract. Looking at what free agents are getting on the open market and the Red Sox unwillingness to extend themselves from an economic standpoint, it won’t be easy for Boston.
With only a year left on his deal, a potential trade might not bear the fruit you may think (Look at the Betts trade). Raffy has all the leverage due to the Red Sox incompetence at negotiating contracts with their own talent. The PR disaster of losing Devers would be like something we’ve never seen before.
It’s hard to be optimistic, but it could still happen if they realize the magnitude of their mistakes.
Why Did This Happen?
Unfortunately for fans, Chaim Bloom and Red Sox ownership decided to play hardball with Bogaerts by offering him below-market value contracts throughout spring training. This led many fans (and even some players) to be critical of Bloom and ownership for not being willing to pay what it would have taken to keep one of their best players on board for the foreseeable future.
Bogaerts was willing to negotiate before free agency, but the organization continued to show they didn’t value him as a player (for whatever reason). It makes you wonder why this ownership group is unwilling to pay their homegrown talent but splurge on free agents that haven’t done a damn thing for the organization. It’s baffling.
Ultimately, if you want your stars to stay long-term, you have no choice but to pay them fairly as soon as possible – otherwise, someone else will. In a market like Boston, this should be the rule, not the exception.
Should Chaim Bloom Get Blame?
A majority of the blame falls on John Henry and the ownership group. With long-term deals of this nature, it requires the approval of the guy writing the checks. But Bloom isn’t blameless in this situation, either. When he took this job, he knew the club’s direction and would always be John Henry’s fall guy.
As long as Bloom is team president, he will take the bows and arrows from the fans and media. He will have to wear this as long as he’s the lead guy, justified or not. If he’s uncomfortable with that, he can hand in his resignation letter to ownership because he didn’t know what he was signing up for.
After the trade of a franchise player such as Mookie Betts, this should have never happened. It’s flat-out unacceptable and shows how tone-deaf the Red Sox ownership/front office truly is. The only way to make up for this is to put a winning product on the field, and losing Bogaerts makes it much more difficult to achieve that.
In the end, the decision-makers have nobody to blame but themselves.
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