Such varied teams as the Padres, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Twins, Orioles, Phillies, and Cubs have all been linked to Xander Bogaerts so far this winter, and the list of suitors could stretch even further beyond these teams. Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports that between eight and 11 teams have shown interest in Bogaerts, and yet the Red Sox weren’t “positioned in that group as of Sunday afternoon.” According to two sources, Bogaerts’ former team hasn’t yet made “a competitive offer” to re-sign.
This relative lack of interest on Boston’s part is perhaps a little surprising, given how chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom has said on multiple occasions that retaining Bogaerts is one of the team’s top priorities. However, as Abraham notes, there has been plenty of indications that the Red Sox haven’t been entirely committed to keeping the All-Star, ranging from their lowball extension offer last spring to the team’s signing of Trevor Story last offseason as a seemingly backup plan for shortstop if Bogaerts departed.
While a front office can obviously work on multiple things at the same time, it is perhaps also telling that the Sox have largely been focused on other roster areas thus far in the offseason. The Red Sox made a big push to sign Jose Abreu before Abreu landed in Houston, and are among the many teams interested in Mitch Haniger. Boston is also exploring a wide range of pitching options for the rotation and bullpen, and the Sox have already made two notable additions in relievers Chris Martin and Joely Rodriguez. This isn’t to say that the Red Sox couldn’t make an offer to Bogaerts at any time, but it would seemingly have to be a very substantial offer to outpace the several other teams who have shown a lot more direct interest.
There hasn’t been much indication that the Sox could pivot to one of the other star free agent shortstops (Trea Turner, Carlos Correa, or Dansby Swanson) rather than Bogaerts, and the team might just use some combination of Story, Enrique Hernandez, Christian Arroyo, Jeter Downs, and the newly-acquired Hoy Park to handle the two middle infield positions. Long-term, Marcelo Mayer is Boston’s shortstop of the future, and prospect Ceddanne Rafaela could also be a factor at shortstop or other positions after a breakout 2022 season at high-A and Double-A ball.
Bogaerts rejected Boston’s qualifying offer, and since the Red Sox exceeded the luxury tax in 2022, their compensatory pick (if Bogaerts signed elsewhere) would fall only after the fourth round of the 2023 draft. It wouldn’t make for much of a consolation prize for one of the best players in recent franchise history, especially since exceeding the tax threshold didn’t even result in a winning record for the 2022 Red Sox.