MLB Rumors: NL East Team Targeting Xander Bogaerts In Free Agency

It's generally accepted around the sport that Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts will be exercising his option, and opting out of his contract to become a free agent at season's end. 

If the Red Sox don't step up to the plate with the bag, some team will. And according to Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe, that one team could very well be the Philadelphia Phillies. This is a team that's desperate for a major upgrade at shortstop, and their interest in Bogaerts (or any of the other prime shortstops on the free agent market this winter) should come as no surprise to anyone.

Abraham writes that the Phillies will be eager suitors” for Boston's 4-time All-Star. He's currently batting an American League-leading .318, with an .859 OPS, 13 HR, 65 RBIs and 80 runs scored. 

Former Red Sox executive Dave Dombrowski is the man in charge now in Philly, and he is all too familiar with Bogaerts, and represents a "terrifyingly realistic" possibility to steal the shortstop from the BoSox, as one Phillies follower put it. 

Rookie Bryson Stott got off to an extremely slow start for the Phillies this year at shortstop, but has come around of late, splitting his time between short and second base. He's batting .305 in his last 175 plate appearances, but could easily slot in at 2B if the Phils were to acquire a star shortstop like Bogaerts in the offseason. 

Photos: James A. Pittman-USA TODAY Sports, Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports