Now that their painful 2022 season is behind them, the Boston Red Sox can focus on their most pressing order of business; re-signing longtime shortstop Xander Bogaerts.
Bogaerts is expected to opt out of his six-year, $120 million contract extension that he signed prior to the 2019 season. For their part, the Red Sox appear determined to avoid losing him like they lost Mookie Betts.
Xander Bogaerts Free Agency
Bogaerts can't officially opt out until five days after the World Series ends, so Boston still has roughly a month to strike a deal with him before he reaches the open market. The team has failed to make much progress in their negotiations with him to his point, however, as the two sides were unable to come to an agreement during their preseason and in-season discussions after the front office opened with an insultingly-low offer.
The Red Sox have to move quickly, as they are running out of time. Bogaerts' agent Scott Boras is known for taking his players to free agency and getting them the best possible contract. If Boston can't figure something out with him soon, his price tag is going rise considerably once other teams start bidding for his services.
Bogaerts, who just turned 30, is coming off another impressive season with the Red Sox. He made his fourth All-Star team and challenged for the American League batting title before ultimately falling short at .307 -- his highest average since 2019. He also improved his defense metrics at shortstop, posting the best fielding numbers of his career and proving that he can still play the position at a high level.
The four-time Silver Slugger has repeatedly expressed an interest in staying with Boston, where he's won two World Series titles since debuting there in 2013 and owns the franchise record for most games played by a shortstop. The Red Sox are the only organization he's ever known since they signed him as a 16-year-old kid out of Aruba.
Bogaerts and the Red Sox have accomplished a lot of great things in their last decade together. Time will tell if they achieve anything else together in the years to come.