Will Xander Bogaerts be a member of the Boston Red Sox a little over a year from now?
It's a question worth asking, as the star Red Sox shortstop can opt out of his six-year, $120 million contract after the 2022 season. ESPN's Joon Lee reported Monday that Bogaerts currently plans on opting out, which would make him a free agent entering the 2022-23 offseason.
But Lee also reported that Bogaerts "hopes to remain in Boston" and "finish his career with the Red Sox."
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From a financial standpoint, it makes sense for Bogaerts -- one of the top five shortstops in baseball -- to opt out after the 2022 season and seek a new contract. Superstar shortstops Francisco Lindor and Fernando Tatis Jr. recently landed deals north of $340 million, while Carlos Correa, Trevor Story and Corey Seager all are candidates to sign massive deals when they hit free agency next offseason.
Bogaerts would be playing on a relative bargain if he continued making $20 million per year through 2025, so he should renegotiate for a new deal with Boston next winter.
The 29-year-old still is an exceptional hitter, coming off a .295/.370/.493 season with 23 home runs and 79 RBIs. As our John Tomase has written, though, Bogaerts has regressed in the field, and the Red Sox must decide whether they can keep him at shortstop if they sign him to a new deal.
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The good news for Boston: Bogaerts is "open" to transitioning to second or third base "down the road," Lee reports.
Bogaerts will turn 30 next October, so the Red Sox may be wary of giving him another long-term deal. If he's open to changing positions, though, re-signing him is a no-brainer. The three-time All-Star is the team's longest-tenured player and a franchise cornerstone of a squad that could be eyeing another deep playoff run in the near future.