Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox sign Xander Bogaerts: Grade, reaction and more

The Red Sox weren’t overly active in free agency this winter, but signing Xander Bogaerts to a massive extension proves Boston is still willing to spend.

Manager Alex Cora would like his Red Sox team to be off to a better start to the 2019 season, but he’s got to be happy with his front office’s latest move. De facto GM Dave Dombrowski and company have made a massive financial commitment to the team’s future by locking up shortstop Xander Bogaerts to a mammoth extension.

Contract details

Jon Heyman has the report that Bogaerts will sign a seven-year, $132 million deal per Jeff Passan to stick with the defending World Series champs. It’s also important to note that industry insiders also believe an opt-out will be present in the final deal. No matter what, this deal takes yet another potential big-name free agent off the market before other teams can actively try to recruit him.

National reaction

One late breaking detail is that Bogaerts will stick with his original salary this season. His new deal won’t kick in until next year and will take him through 2025.

It’s safe to say the Red Sox won’t need to prioritize guys like Carlos Correa or Francisco Lindor in free agency now. Although, it’s possible that Boston might look to shift Bogaerts to third base towards the end of this extension.

MLB teams continue to find better value by re-signing their own players as opposed to dipping into free agency.

There’s a lot to like about this deal from the Red Sox perspective. They get to lock in one of the most complete shortstops in the game to a pretty reasonable salary through the prime of his career. It’s not a huge bargain though, Bogaerts’ annual average salary of around $18.85 million will make him the highest paid shortstop by a fair margin.

Specifically, it’s $3 million per season more than Elvis Andrus who is second on that list. Boston officials clearly prioritized cost certainty over a discount here. Critics of the deal could ask why the Red Sox were in a hurry to set the market for a player who still had plenty of time before free agency.

Even though this deal resets the mark at the shortstop position, it still gives the Red Sox pretty good value for a player who contributed 4.6 WAR last season. As long as Bogaerts continues to give his team that kind of production, this deal should turn out to be a value for Boston over the long-term.

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Add it all up and it’s a good, not great deal for a team with a lot of financial resources. As long as the size of the deal doesn’t stop the Red Sox from signing other stars such as Mookie Betts, it should turn out to be a solid transaction.

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