Three years ago, the Red Sox and shortstop Xander Bogaerts reached a contract extension right around Opening Day. History isn’t going to repeat itself in 2022.
Speaking one day before Boston opens its season against the Yankees in the Bronx, Bogaerts said there’s no chance the sides reach a long-term deal in the coming days. The Red Sox made him an offer, he confirmed, but the sides didn’t come close to a deal. Bogaerts’ contract from 2019 includes an opt-out clause at the end of this season; he is expected to exercise it and hit free agency in the fall barring a surprise agreement before then.
“It didn’t work out,” Bogaerts said. “We’ll see how it goes from there.”
At the beginning of spring training, both Bogaerts and Red Sox officials said they hoped to discuss a long-term deal during camp. Bogaerts said he did not want discussions to continue into the regular season, setting a soft deadline for an agreement. With the start of the regular season less than 24 hours away, it would be a surprise if the sides talked again until after the year.
“I can’t do nothing about it right now,” Bogaerts said. “I’ve got a season coming up in front of me and I don’t want to put any of our teammates in that type of distraction. They don’t deserve it. We had time to get something done. It didn’t work out.”
A potential extension for Bogaerts now is more complicated than it was in 2019, when he took a hometown discount to sign a six-year, $120 million deal with the Red Sox that included an opt out after the third season (2022).
First, the market for shortstops has exploded in recent years, with Francisco Lindor (10 years, $341 million), Fernando Tatis Jr. (14 years, $340 million), Corey Seager (10 years, $325 million), Carlos Correa (3 years, $105.5 million with two opt-outs) and Javier Baez (6 years, $140 million) signing big deals. Even Marcus Semien (7 years, $175 million) and Trevor Story (6 years, $140 million) received larger average annual values than Bogaerts ($20 million) to move to second base. As a free agent, Bogaerts would be due for a massive raise.
Secondly, Boston’s signing of Story makes a potential Bogaerts departure more palatable because the club now has an internal, long-term replacement at shortstop even if no one in the front office is admitting it publicly. Story has played exclusively at the position for the Rockies before agreeing to transition to second base in Boston.
“We want Bogey to be here for a long time,” Bloom said last month. “The great thing about Trevor and the player he is, is that he helps us in so many ways that he fits us regardless. We’d love to have both of them here for a long time.”
Contract extensions have been a recent hot topic for the Red Sox, who have Bogaerts, Nathan Eovaldi, J.D. Martinez, Kike Hernandez and Christian Vazquez hitting free agency after the season and star third baseman Rafael Devers entering his second-to-last year under contract. Despite all of those players publicly stating their interest in working out deals by the end of camp, it appears the Red Sox came up short in talks with all of them. Boston made Devers an offer but the sides were “very far off” and unlikely to reach a last-minute deal as of Thursday.
Eovaldi said Thursday that he did not have any discussions with the team during spring training.
For Bogaerts, the prospect of the first walk year of his career looms. Barring a surprise, the three-time All-Star will hit the open market in the fall. On Thursday, he seemed resigned to — and even a bit disappointed in — that reality.
“It didn’t work out. That’s behind us now,” he said. “I can’t really think about that right now. It is what it is.”
Story by Chris Cotillo, MassLive.com.