What Should the Red Sox do With Xander Bogaerts?
After being washed out by mother nature last night, the Red Sox took on the Orioles in what would be the first game of a double header. The game ended in very dramatic fashion with the Red Sox offense exploding for 4 runs in the eighth inning. They would go on to win the game 19-3. There were a lot of take a ways from this afternoons game. JD Martinez hit his 42nd home run of the year (including spring training). That dinger tied him for most home runs hit by a first year Red Sox player. Mookie Betts stole a base, his 30th making him the first 30-30 player since Jacoby Ellsbury's MVP season* in 2011. Rafael Devers continues to be hotter than a fox in a forest fire adding two more home runs and 6 more RBI's to his 2018 resume. But then there is one guy who stands out, that man is Xander Bogaerts, who with a two run shot in the bottom of the 6th inning. Those two RBI's were numbers 99 and 100 on the year. This is the first time that Bogaerts has reached the century mark in the RBI category. Looking at those numbers in a vacuum, on September 26th, 2018 its great but I choose to look at the future.
Sir Xander Bogaerts will enter his last year of arbitration once this season comes to an end, making him a free agent in 2020. Bogaerts is a top tier shortstop, and arguably the best in the American League East. He is only 25, turning 26 next week. He also has recorded career highs in home runs and RBI's this season. Thats all great for the 2018 Red Sox but what about the future teams? I think this offseason the Red Sox should move on from Bogaerts, not because he's a bad player, but because I see bigger issues that will need to be addressed.
These are the players that will be free agents this off season:
The biggest name on this list is Craig Kimbrel. The scuttlebutt earlier this year is that his asking price is gonna be north of 20 million per year. For a guy who only pitches 60 some odd innings a year, that is a lot of money but I'm sure the Red Sox will pay him. Every one else on this list can go pound sand. Also not listed here is David Price, but he will also most likely pick up his option. Eduardo Nunez also has a 4 million dollar player option. Best of all the Red Sox still owe Pablo Sandoval over 18 million in 2019.
Next up is 2020 free agents:
This list is where my issues lie. Chris Sale deserves David Price money if not more. Rick Porcello has been pretty reliable and they should sign him. I like Brandon Workman too. I like to live by the motto in that a baseball team can never have enough pitching. Also JD Martinez has a player option, and if he hits another 35 plus home runs, he will opt out and ask for more money. Mookie Betts (the best player in baseball) will be a free agent in 2021. If he continues his production, he could be the highest paid player in the sport. I just don't see where a Bogaerts contract would fit in, especially since the Red Sox are already against the cap and need a lot of help in the bullpen.
I do think Bogaerts deserves to get paid, and he will because he is a Boras guy. Manny Machado will set the ceiling for shortstops this offseason, and I think teams will have money to spend after no one spending money last off season. Realistically Bogaerts will at least double his current value at 7.5 million, and he could get even more. Another Knight in Didi Gregorius will also be free agent in 2020, making the market very competitive. But what I do know is that the Red Sox have other players such as Chris Sale, Mookie Betts, and JD Martinez that are more valuable to the team and those guys are where I believe John Henry's money should go.
With that being said, I think a year of Xander Bogaerts could get a couple of much needed prospects. The Red Sox once had a very proud farm system, highly touted throughout the league for drafting and developing guys that would help lead Red Sox teams win world series now and in the future. Names like Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester, and Anthony Rizzo have come through the system and have won a world series. Now the Red Sox have to pay guys like Rusney Castillo 72.5 million over seven years to keep the Paw Sox competitive since Dave Dombrowski traded top prospects for guys such as Drew Pomeranz. I don't want to see the Red Sox end up like the Tigers, the last team Dombrowski ruined. But trading Bogaerts would be a step in the right direction to help rebuild the farm, Id rather see that happen than have him and Scott Boras walk away for nothing.
*Jacoby Ellsbury should've been AL MVP in 2011. Collapse or not, the guy was the best player in baseball for the entire season. Justin Verlander can take a hike, pitchers have their own award.