The San Diego Padres and free-agent shortstop Xander Bogaerts have agreed to an 11-year, $280 million contract, major-league sources confirmed to The Athletic. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman was first to report the news. Here’s what you need to know:
- Bogaerts slashed .307/.377/.456 with 73 RBIs and 15 home runs in 150 games last season.
- He ranked No. 5 on The Athletic’s Keith Law’s list of top free agents of 2022-23.
- Bogaerts opted out of the final three years and $60 million of his Red Sox contract on Nov. 7 to become a free agent.
With the signing, Bogaerts is expected to continue playing shortstop while Ha-Seong Kim plays second base, Jake Croneworth plays first base and Fernando Tatis Jr. moves to the outfield.
Bogaerts is coming off a platform year that’s a bit different from his norms, as he failed to hit 20 homers for the first time in a full season since 2017 but played his best-ever defense at shortstop. Bogaerts, who turned 30 on Oct. 1, had his best defensive season by advanced metrics — it was just his second year with a positive Outs Above Average figure, at plus-5.
The boost in his defensive production offsets the loss in his hard contact, but the likely trend for all players in their 30s is for defensive value to slip and for them to move down the defensive spectrum.
Padres’ immediate motivation
The Padres viewed Bogaerts as the best hitter among the Big 4 shortstops in this free-agent class. Trea Turner, as evidenced by an unsuccessful $342 million bid, was their top priority. Then, San Diego had a scintillating but brief flirtation with Aaron Judge.
After going 0-for-2 on superstar targets, general manager A.J. Preller would not be denied a third time. In agreeing to a surprisingly hefty commitment to Bogaerts, the Padres far outbid the competition. The Boston Globe reported that the Red Sox’s offers to their longtime shortstop were below $200 million. – Lin
Other looming factors for San Diego
At this point, no sweepstakes seem too outlandish for the Padres. But their unmistakable desire to make a splash was driven, in part, by future considerations. In light of recent nine-figure contracts, Manny Machado appears increasingly likely to opt out after the 2023 season and perhaps pursue another $300 million payday.
The Padres realize that extending Juan Soto, the sport’s most accomplished 24-year-old hitter, could be a long shot. For at least one season, San Diego should benefit from one of the most potent offensive foursomes in baseball: Soto, Machado, Bogaerts and Fernando Tatis Jr. – Lin
Would this have made sense for the Red Sox?
Bogaerts was the heart and soul of the Red Sox in many ways, but at some point this deal didn’t make sense for the Red Sox, not so much the $280 million, but 11-year term. While earlier in the day there was clear optimism from the Red Sox that they were working toward a deal, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom presciently said when asked about a timeline for working toward a Bogaerts deal, “I don’t know. It wouldn’t be my place to say but I think the game teaches you, you shouldn’t speculate too much on those things.”
Earlier in the week, the Red Sox narrowly missed out on free agent deals for Zach Eflin, Andrew Heaney and Tommy Kanhle, but this reaches a whole new level. After a productive day with deals in place or pending for Chris Martin, Kenley Jansen and Masataka Yoshida, ending the meetings this way puts the club back closer to square one. –Jennings
What’s next for Boston
The Red Sox now have several questions to answer, chiefly, what do they do from here? Who will they pursue at short? Dansby Swanson or Carlos Correa in free agency? A trade? Or will they shift Kiké Hernandez or Trevor Story to shortstop and fill an outfield or second base hole instead? How do they fill Bogaerts’ hole in the middle of the lineup? – Jennings
(Photo: Winslow Townson / Getty Images)
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