Products You May Like
The Red Sox rumored extension offer to franchise star Xander Bogaerts “a slap in the face”
The Boston Red Sox are set to open Fenway Park for the season on Friday, but they’re kicking off the festivities on a sour note, reportedly lowballing one of the faces of the franchise.
According to Jon Heyman, shortstop Xander Bogaerts and the Sox are approximately $100 million apart in their extension negotiations. The MLB insider reported that the front office of one of the richest teams in professional sports simply offered to tack one more year and an additional $30 million or so onto Bogaerts’ current, very team-friendly deal.
With an offer this low, why even bother? A source close to Bogaerts accurately described it as “a slap in the face.”
Red Sox offer to Xander Bogaerts reportedly called ‘slap in the face’
Bogaerts and the recently-returned Jackie Bradley Jr. are the longest-tenured players on the current roster. They debuted in 2013, and have helped their team to two of their four championships in a 15-year span, the most in Major League Baseball since the start of the new millennium. Now 29 years old, Bogaerts has been with the organization since he was 16, when they discovered him and his twin brother Jair, in Aruba.
Over his first decade in the majors, Bogaerts emerged as one of the best offensive shortstops in the game. He’s a four-time Silver Slugger and three-time All-Star who received MVP votes in each of the last four seasons. Between 2018-19, he hit 97 doubles and 56 home runs, scored 182 times, and drove in 220 RBI. Excluding his 18-game debut in 2013 and the shortened 2020 season, he’s played 144+ games in all but one season of his career.
Compare Bogaerts to Corey Seager, Francisco Lindor, and Fernando Tatis Jr., three shortstops who received contracts of over $300 million in the last two years, and there’s really no contest. Dating back to 2019, the first season all four were in the league, Bogaerts has played more games than each of them and out-hit them by a significant margin in almost every category. He has 412 hits, none of them have more than 341. He’s doubled 96 times, none of them have 80. He’s driven in 225 RBI, they couldn’t crack 200.
Tatis has hit more home runs, giving him a higher slugging percentage and OPS. But whereas Bogaerts struck out 282 times in 360 games, the young Padres star K-ed a whopping 324 times in only 273 contests. Tatis and Lindor steal more bases, but overall, Bogaerts has done the most and been paid the least. Factor in his leadership in the Boston clubhouse, as well as his extensive postseason experience, and it’s no contest.
Will the Red Sox’ handling of Xander Bogaerts lead to a repeat of Mookie Betts’ departure?
There have been many lowball “offers” in franchise history, and it almost always ends with a beloved star leaving. Mookie Betts and Jon Lester come to mind, and like Bogaerts, Lester was willing to take a discount to stay in Boston “’til they rip the jersey off my back.”
David Ortiz famously took several discounts to stay with the Sox. Even so, he wrote in his autobiography that they tried to needle him about money every time, all while giving out lucrative long-term deals to players like Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Pablo Sandoval, none of whom lasted three years into their contracts with the team or contributed nearly as much.
Ortiz said that the only easy negotiations he had came after he said that he was thinking of retiring, at which point the ownership group declared they would pay him whatever it took to have him finish his career with the team.
Bogaerts has already taken a discount. In 2019, he approached the Red Sox and opened conversations about an extension, a rare occurrence for a Scott Boras client. They agreed to a six-year deal for $120M guaranteed with an annual average salary of $20M. He has a full no-trade clause but can opt-out after this season, which everyone expects him to do, especially in light of this reported offer.
Recently, I cautioned Red Sox fans who mocked the Yankees for failing to come to terms with their own soon-to-be free agent Aaron Judge, saying that people who live in glass houses should not throw stones. Or in this case, fans of a team with two faces of the franchise to retain shouldn’t mock a team that only has to negotiate with one. Because while the Yankees are making big offers to Judge, the Red Sox went out and signed a contingency plan in the form of shortstop Trevor Story. At least the Yankees and Judge are on different sides of the same ballpark; the Sox and Bogaerts aren’t even in the same zip code.
President of Baseball Operations Chaim Bloom, a byproduct of the thrifty Tampa Bay Rays, says the organization is “hopeful” they can “keep both guys,” but that’s about as meaningful as a sandcastle on the shoreline. The Sox can certainly afford to give them lucrative deals. After all, they just gave Garrett Whitlock a very nice four-year extension after one incredible rookie season. And in addition to being one of the richest teams in the league, they have money coming off the books at the end of the season.
Nathan Eovaldi will be a free agent, they have a club option on James Paxton, and Michael Wacha and Rich Hill are only signed to one-year deals. The Sox also exceeded the luxury tax threshold to sign Story, another slap in the face to Bogaerts and Rafael Devers, who they are also lowballing.
The overall question here is how many times can the Red Sox do this? Bogaerts and his ‘little brother’ Devers have made it clear that they want to be in Red Sox uniforms for their entire careers. Both are extremely talented players on their own, but even more formidable when they’re together. They bring so much to this team and want to do so until the very end, but that seems to matter so little to the ownership group, as they dared make them such low offers in the first place.
If Heyman’s report is true and this was their offer to Bogaerts, then he should have a monster season and opt out. He’ll be 30 in October, and this is his chance to get the big deal he’s earned.
Bogaerts deserves better, and if the Sox won’t give him that, then they deserve to lose him.