“He’s going to leave", Friend Says Of Red Sox All-Star

The Boston Red Sox have a problem. With the team already struggling mightily this season, they also stand to lose one of their offensive mainstays this offseason. Shortstop Xander Bogaerts has a player option in his contract and can choose to opt-out and become a free agent after 2022. Will he do so? 

According to MLB Insider Jon Heyman, it certainly appears that way. “He’s going to leave,” Heyman quoted a Bogaerts friend as predicting. 

There are a couple of things at play here. Bogaerts gave a "hometown discount" in his last contract with the BoSox, signing a contract extension in 2019 that "many believe was below market value." It was a 6-year deal with an average annual value of $20M. As a reference, free agent shortstop Corey Seager signed this past offseason with the Texas Rangers for an AAV of $32M; Carlos Correa signed with the Minnesota Twins for an AAV of $35.1M. 

Even Bogaerts' own new teammate, Trevor Story, got an AAV of $23.3M in his 6-year deal worth $140M. 

Story also presents the other issue. The Red Sox already have a star shortstop in-house to replace Bogaerts if he leaves. With a chance to extend him before the season, Boston reportedly only offered to add one more year at $30M to his existing deal. That was a hard 'NO' from Bogaerts' camp. 

The 29-year-old has spent his entire 10-year career in Boston, averaging .291 with an .814 OPS, three All-Star appearances and 4 Silver Sluggers. 

Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports