Red Sox, Rafael Devers agree to 11-year, $331 million contract extension

The Red Sox and third baseman Rafael Devers have agreed to terms on an 11-year, $331 million contract extension, as was first reported by former major-leaguer Carlos Baerga on Instagram earlier Wednesday afternoon.

The deal, which is still pending a physical and has not yet been finalized, runs from 2023 to 2033, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. Alex Speier of The Boston Globe relays that the contract does not include any opt-outs while Jon Heyman of the New York Post adds that it does not contain a no-trade clause.

Devers, 26, will receive $20 million upfront in the form of a signing bonus, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. He will then earn $17.5 million in 2023 after agreeing to a one-year deal of that amount on Tuesday in order to avoid salary arbitration. All told, Devers’ contract represents the largest and longest in Red Sox history, blowing well past the seven-year, $217 million pact David Price signed in December 2015 and the eight-year, $160 million deal Manny Ramirez inked in Dec. 2000.

In terms of total value, the $331 million commitment is the sixth-largest in league history, as it surpasses Bryce Harper’s $330 million deal with the Phillies and slots in behind Mike Trout’s $426.5 million deal with the Angels, Mookie Betts’ $365 million deal with the Dodgers, Aaron Judge’s $360 million deal with the Yankees, Francisco Lindor’s $341 million deal with the Mets, and Fernando Tatis Jr.’s $340 million deal with the Padres.

Prior to Wednesday’s agreement, Devers was slated to become a free agent for the first time in his big-league career next winter. After trading Betts to the Dodgers in February 2020 and losing Xander Bogaerts to the Padres in free agency last month, the Red Sox could ill-afford to watch another homegrown superstar take his talents elsewhere. While they ultimately came up short in extension talks with Betts and Bogaerts, they were able to get a deal done with Devers.

A client of REP1 Baseball, Devers originally signed with the Red Sox for $1.5 million as a highly-touted international free agent coming out of the Dominican Republic in July 2013. The Sanchez native quickly established himself as one of the top prospects in baseball and broke in with Boston at the age of 20 in July 2017.

Since debuting for the Red Sox, Devers — now a veteran of six major-league seasons — has compiled a lifetime slash line of .283/.342/.512 to go along with 187 doubles, 139 home runs, 455 RBIs, and 439 runs scored over 689 career games. He won his first World Series title in 2018, took home his first Silver Slugger Award in 2021, and is a two-time All-Star.

Devers has proven to be particularly effective in the month of October. To go along with his World Series ring from 2018, Devers owns a career .303/.382/.573 line with eight home runs, 26 RBIs, and 27 runs scored in 26 postseason contests. He clubbed five homers in 11 games during Boston’s run to the American League Championship Series in 2021.

Last year, Devers batted .295/.358/.521 with 42 doubles, one triple, 27 homers, 88 runs driven in, 84 runs scored, three stolen bases, 50 walks, and 114 strikeouts across 141 games (614 plate appearances). The left-handed hitting slugger appeared to be well on his way to an MVP-caliber campaign after receiving his second straight All-Star nod, but he was sidelined by right hamstring inflammation in late July/early August and his second-half production (.713 OPS in 55 games) took a hit as a result of him trying to play through it.

Regardless of how his 2022 season ended, though, Devers has squarely put himself in the conversation for the best offensive third basemen in the game. Since the start of the 2019 campaign, Devers leads all qualified American League hitters in total hits (591) and doubles (149). He also ranks fourth in home runs (108), second in RBIs (359), second in runs scored (346), eighth in batting average (.292), 20th in on-base percentage (.352), seventh in slugging percentage (.532), sixth in OPS (.884), 17th in isolated power (.240), and 15th in wRC+ (132), per FanGraphs.

On the other side of the ball, there are some concerns about Devers’ defensive abilities at third base. In 2022, the 6-foot, 240-pounder logged 1,186 innings at the hot corner and graded poorly in several categories, including Defensive Runs Saved (-6), Outs Above Average (-2), and Ultimate Zone Rating (-2.3). With that being said, the Red Sox can surely live with Devers’ occasional struggles on the field so long as he continues to produce at the plate at a high level.

Devers, who turns 27 in October, is now slated to remain in Boston through the end of his age-36 season in 2033. His $331 million contract is by far the largest handed out by chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom since he took over in Oct. 2019. Bloom had recently expressed a desire to keep Devers in a Red Sox uniform beyond 2023.

“He has been somebody that we love and want right at the center of everything we hope to accomplish, obviously in 2023 but more importantly, in the years beyond,” Bloom told MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo last month. “Because those are the years he’s not under our control. We’re hoping to change that.”

Getting an extension done with Devers represents another milestone in what has already been an eventful offseason for Bloom and Co. While the likes of Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez, and Nathan Eovaldi have signed elsewhere as free agents, the Red Sox have added a number of veterans — such as Corey Kluber, Justin Turner, Kenley Jansen, and Chris Martin on short-term deals. They also dipped into the international market by signing Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida to a five-year, $90 million contract at the Winter Meetings.

With Devers locked in for the next decade-plus, the Red Sox now have a franchise cornerstone they can build around as they look to put a disappointing and forgetful 2022 behind them.

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Xander Bogaerts bids farewell to Red Sox fans on Instagram: ‘Thank you Boston. Until we meet again’

Exactly 10 days after leaving the Red Sox for the Padres in free agency, Xander Bogaerts took to Instagram on Monday morning to reflect on his time in Boston and send thanks to the fans of the organization he began his career with.

“Dear Red Sox Nation – Thank you for an incredible ride (and what a ride it was)!” Bogaerts wrote. ” It was an honor to wear the Red Sox uniform and play in front of the best and most knowledgeable fans in baseball. There were some highs and lows but two World Series trophies during my time to celebrate with you all was absolutely incredible. Thank you to the Red Sox for taking a chance on a young kid from the island of Aruba.

“Thank you to all the coaches, athletic trainers, managers and front office folks who I have crossed paths with over the course of 14 years,” he continued. “Every single one of you impacted my life in more ways than one and helped me develop into the player I am today. And lastly, to every player that took the field with me in a Red Sox uniform, I say thank you. Thank you for being great teammates and friends. So many of you taught me what it means to be a professional on the field and off the field. Thank you Boston. Until we meet again!”

Bogaerts, 30, originally signed with the Red Sox for $410,000 as an international free agent coming out of Aruba in August 2009. The Oranjestad native made his major-league debut four years later and went on to become arguably the most prolific shortstop in franchise history.

In 1,264 career games with the Red Sox, Bogaerts batted .292/.356/.458 with 308 doubles, 15 triples, 156 home runs, 683 RBIs, 752 runs scored, and 74 stolen bases. His 1,192 appearances at shortstop during that stretch are the most in team history. He made four All-Star teams, won five Silver Slugger Awards, and won two World Series titles over the course of 10 seasons in Boston.

Despite accomplishing so much and establishing himself as a fan favorite, Bogaerts and the Red Sox were unable to come to terms on a new contract. That resulted in Bogaerts, who is represented by Scott Boras, agreeing to a massive 11-year, $280 million deal with the Padres on the final day of the Winter Meetings earlier this month.

In a conversation with MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo last week, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom explained that while Bogaerts’ decision to leave for San Diego was not necessarily surprising, it was still tough to take in.

“He’s a really important person to everyone here and he’s important to the organization. From that standpoint, the fact he’s not going to be here anymore is hard,” Bloom said. “And that’s sad. I think anybody who sugarcoats that is being dishonest. Just because there are business decisions everyone has to make doesn’t mean that the emotional side or the personal side is any less.”

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Xander Bogaerts leaves Red Sox, agrees to 11-year, $280 million deal with Padres

Former Red Sox shortstop has agreed to an 11-year, $280 million deal with the Padres, according to The New York Post’s Jon Heyman. The deal does not include any opt-out clauses or team options, though it does come with a full no-trade clause, per MLB.com’s Jon Morosi.

Bogaerts, 30, became a free agent last month after opting out of the final three years and $60 million of the extension he signed in April 2019. The Red Sox had extended Bogaerts a qualifying offer (which he declined), so they will receive a compensatory pick that falls between the fourth and fifth round of next year’s draft after exceeding the luxury tax threshold in 2022. The Padres, on the other hand, will forfeit their second- and fifth-highest picks since they, too, spent past the threshold. They will also have their international signing bonus pool reduced by $1 million.

By agreeing to a monstrous contract with the Padres, Bogaerts puts an end to an impressive tenure with Boston. The Red Sox originally signed Bogaerts for $410,000 as an international free agent coming out of Aruba in 2009. The Oranjestad native made his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League the following year and quickly emerged as one of the brightest prospects in the organization.

After rising through the ranks in the minor-leagues, Bogaerts was called up by the Red Sox for the first time on August 20, 2013. At just 21 years old, Bogaerts helped Boston in winning its first World Series title at Fenway Park since 1918. Bogaerts endured a sophomore slump of sorts in 2014 but bounced back in 2015 by winning his first Silver Slugger Award. He repeated as a Silver Slugger Award in 2016 while also making his first All-Star team. In 2017, Bogaerts’ production took a dip due to a right hand injury.

Bogaerts broke out in a big way in 2018, which was also Alex Cora’s first year at the helm in Boston. The right-handed hitting infielder clubbed a then-career best 23 home runs and collected 103 RBIs en route to finishing 13th in American League MVP voting and winning another World Series. The following April, he inked a six-year, $120 million contract extension to remain with the Sox. His agent, Scott Boras, subsequently negotiated an opt-out clause that would allow Bogaerts to hit free agency at the conclusion of the 2022 season.

For the next three seasons, Bogaerts continuously ascended and put himself in the conversation for the top shortstop in the game. After another stellar offensive campaign in 2021, it became apparent that Bogaerts was going to opt out as long as he remained healthy.

Knowing this, the Red Sox attempted to re-sign Bogaerts to another extension this spring. Rather than make a respectable offer, though, Boston lowballed Bogaerts with a four-year, $90 million offer that effectively tacked on an additional year and $30 million in salary to the remainder of his contract. Bogaerts expectedly rejected the offer, and the two sides did not talk at all during the regular season.

Bogaerts, for his part, batted .307/.377/.456 with 15 home runs and 73 RBIs over 150 games this season while playing some of the best defense of his career at shortstop. From the time the regular season ended in early October until free agency opened in November, the Red Sox were able to exclusively negotiate with Bogaerts, yet they could not come close to an agreement.

As a result of hitting the open market for the first time in his career, Bogaerts drew widespread interest from a number of teams this offseason. On multiple occasions, Red Sox officials described retaining Bogaerts as the club’s No. 1 priority.

When the Winter Meetings commenced in San Diego earlier this week, there seemed to be a growing sense of optimism that the Sox would be able to hammer out a deal with Bogaerts. On Wednesday morning, The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham reported that the two sides had met and that there was momentum towards an agreement. It was only hours later that Heyman broke news of Bogaerts coming to terms with the Padres.

According to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, Boston’s final offer to Bogaerts was in the range of $160 million over six years. While the average annual value of that proposal ($27 million) surpassed the $25.5 million per year Bogaerts will be receiving from San Diego, the difference in the number of guaranteed seasons led to a $120 million gap between the two offers.

Some within Bogaerts’ camp believed the Sox would raise their offer. Regardless of that though, it has become apparent that Boston was not comfortable paying Bogaerts a high salary into his late thirties. The Padres, meanwhile, have committed a whopping $280 million to Bogaerts through his age-40 season.

All told, Bogaerts certainly left his mark on the Red Sox in his 14 years with the organization. He played 1,264 games for Boston, which are the 15th-most in team history. His 1,192 appearances at shortstop are also the most in team history. In total, Bogaerts slashed .292/.356/.458 with 156 home runs and 683 RBIs across 1,264 games in a Red Sox uniform. He won two World Series titles, was named to four American league All-Star teams, and won five Silver Slugger Awards in his first 10 seasons as a big-leaguer.

Bogaerts will take that impressive resume out west to San Diego. The Padres, under general manager A.J. Preller, have been aggressive in free agency this winter and finally landed the star they coveted in Bogaerts. Bogaerts will join a talented core in San Diego that includes Manny Machado, Juan Soto, and Fernando Tatis Jr. The Padres reached the National League Championship Series this fall and came up three wins short of a World Series berth.

While the Padres got their guy, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and the Red Sox will now have to look elsewhere when it comes to filling the void at shortstop left behind by Bogaerts. Speculation within the industry would seem to suggest that in-house options such as Trevor Story or Enrique Hernandez could overtake those responsibilities. Bloom and Co. could also look to free agency and pursue the likes of Carlos Correa or Dansby Swanson to take over for Bogaerts.

With Bogaerts gone, the Red Sox should now turn their attention to star third baseman Rafael Devers, who is under club control for one more season and will be a free agent at this time next winter.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers recognized in American League MVP voting

Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts finished ninth in 2022 American League Most Valuable Player Award voting, as revealed by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on Thursday night. Third baseman Rafael Devers finished 14th.

Bogaerts received one fourth-place vote, two sixth-place votes, two seventh-place votes, two eighth-place votes, seven ninth-place votes, and five 10th-place votes for a total of 50 points. Devers received one seventh-place vote, one eighth-place vote, and three 10th place votes for a total of 10 points.

Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge, who set a new American League record by hitting 62 home runs this season, received 28 of 30 first-place votes en route to winning his first MVP Award. Last year’s winner, Angels two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani, finished second while Astros designated hitter/outfielder Yordan Alvarez came in third.

Bogaerts, who — like Judge — is now a free agent, won his fifth career Silver Slugger Award earlier this month after batting .307/.377/.456 with 38 doubles, 15 home runs, 73 RBIs, 84 runs scored, eight stolen bases, 57 walks, and 118 strikeouts over 150 games (631 plate appearances) for the Red Sox this season. The 30-year-old finished in a three-way tie with Cleveland’s Andres Gimenez and Houston’s Justin Verlander for the fifth-highest fWAR total (6.1) in the American League, per FanGraphs.

Devers, who is eligible for free agency following the 2023 campaign, slashed .295/.358/.521 with 42 doubles, one triple, 27 home runs, 88 RBIs, 84 runs scored, three stolen bases, 50 walks, and 114 strikeouts across 141 games (614 plate appearances) for Boston this season. The 26-year-old finished in a two-way tie with Cleveland’s Shane Bieber for the 11th-highest fWAR total (4.9) in the junior circuit.

This marks the fifth straight season in which Bogaerts has received MVP votes. Devers, on the other hand, has now gotten MVP votes in three of the last four seasons dating back to 2019.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Xander Bogaerts, Nathan Eovaldi reject Red Sox’ qualifying offers

Last Thursday, the Red Sox extended qualifying offers to right-hander Nathan Eovaldi and shortstop Xander Bogaerts. They learned on Tuesday that both free agents rejected the one-year, $19.65 million deal to return to Boston for the 2023 season.

Bogaerts’ decision is hardly a surprising one. The 30-year-old infielder has earned $20 million in each of the last three seasons and would therefore be taking a pay cut if he were to accept the qualifying offer after opting out of his contract last week. He is instead expected to receive a long-term deal that exceeds $30 million in average annual value at some point this winter.

Knowing that he was going to reject it, the Red Sox still issued Bogaerts a qualifying offer anyway. If the Boras Corp. client signs elsewhere in free agency, Boston would receive a compensatory pick following the fourth round of next year’s draft.

The same applies to Eovaldi, who could have gone either way with his decision. A $19.65 million salary in 2023 would have represented a 15.6 percent raise from the $17 million the 32-year-old hurler earned in 2022.

Eovaldi posted a 3.87 ERA and 4.30 FIP with 103 strikeouts to 20 walks in 20 starts (109 1/3 innings) for the Red Sox this past season. He was sidelined from June 9-July 15 with low back inflammation and from August 19-September 29 with right shoulder inflammation, which had led to diminished fastball velocity.

Despite those concerns, Eovaldi — who turns 33 in February — elected to hit the open market as opposed to taking the qualifying offer. The ACES client has said in the past that he enjoys pitching for the Red Sox and that his family has loved their time in Boston. The feeling appears to be mutual.

On Sunday, WEEI’s Rob Bradford reported that the Red Sox had made Eovaldi a multi-year contract offer. The fact that Eovaldi is now attached to draft pick compensation may lessen his market, making a reunion between the two sides all the more likely.

With that being said, though, it remains to be seen how close the Red Sox and Eovaldi are to a potential agreement. Starting pitching is always a hot commodity, and another team could jump on a veteran starter like Eovaldi if given the chance to do so.

Fourteen players in total were extended qualifying offers by their respective clubs last week. Of those 14, only Giants outfielder Joc Pederson and Rangers left-hander Martin Perez accepted it.

Besides Bogaerts and Eovaldi, the other 10 players who rejected the qualifying offer were the Dodgers’ Tyler Anderson and Trea Turner, the Mets’ Chris Bassitt, Jacob deGrom, and Brandon Nimmo, the Cubs’ Wilson Contreras, the Yankees’ Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo, the Giants’ Carlos Rodon, and the Braves’ Dansby Swanson.

It has since been reported that Anderson has agreed to a three-year, $39 million contract with the Angels while Rizzo has agreed to return to the Bronx on a two-year deal that comes with $40 million in guaranteed money.

If chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and the Red Sox were to sign a qualified free agent (outside of Bogaerts and Eovaldi) this winter, they would be forced to forfeit their second- and fifth-highest selections in the 2023 draft. Additionally, they would see their international signing bonus pool be reduced by $1 million after exceeding the $230 million competitive balance tax threshold this year.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts wins fifth career Silver Slugger Award

Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts was named a 2022 Silver Slugger Award winner on Thursday night. The announcement was made on MLB Network.

Bogaerts and third baseman Rafael Devers were both named finalists at their respective positions last month. The former beat out Toronto’s Bo Bichette, Minnesota’s Carolos Correa, and Texas’ Corey Seager while the latter came up short against Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez.

In the National League, former Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts won his second silver Slugger Award as a member of the Dodgers and his fifth overall. Kyle Schwarber, on the other hand, won his first career Silver Slugger Award as a member of the Phillies.

This is Bogaerts’ fifth career Silver Slugger Award and his third in the last four seasons. The 30-year-old infielder becomes just the fourth player in Red Sox history to win at least five Silver Sluggers with the club, joining David Ortiz (7), Wade Boggs (6), and Manny Ramirez (5). He also becomes the fifth shortstop to win at least five Silver Sluggers since the award was first introduced in 1980.

Bogaerts finished third in the American League batting title race this season behind Minnesota’s Luiz Arraez and New York’s Aaron Judge, who also received Silver Slugger Awards on Thursday. In 150 games with Boston, the right-handed hitter slashed .307/.377/.456 with 38 doubles, 15 home runs, 73 RBIs, 84 runs scored, eight stolen bases, 57 walks, and 118 strikeouts over 631 plate appearances.

Among qualified American League shortstops, Bogaerts ranked first in batting average, first in on-base percentage, third in slugging percentage, second in OPS (.833), first in wOBA (.363), and second in wRC+ (134), per FanGraphs.

Bogaerts officially become a free agent on Monday after opting out of the final three years and $60 million of his contract. The Red Sox extended the native Aruban a $19.65 million qualifying offer on Thursday, but he is expected to reject it within the next 10 days in order to pursue a more lucrative, longer-term deal on the open market.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox extend qualifying offers to Xander Bogaerts and Nathan Eovaldi

The Red Sox have extended qualifying offers to shortstop Xander Bogaerts and right-hander Nathan Eovaldi. They did not issue the qualifying offer to other eligible free agents such as righty Michael Wacha or designated hitter J.D. Martinez ahead of Thursday’s deadline, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Bogaerts and Eovaldi now have the next 10 days to either accept or reject the qualifying offer, which equates to a one-year, $19.65 million deal for 2023. Bogaerts, who opted out of his contract after earning $20 million this past season, is a sure bet to reject the offer since he is going to make more per year in free agency.

Eovaldi, meanwhile, could accept it. The $19.65 million the 32-year-old would receive in 2023 represents a 15.6 percent raise from the $17 million he earned in the final year of the four-year, $68 million contract he signed in December 2018.

According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, the Red Sox “are believed to be interested in a multi-year agreement” with Eovaldi, who was limited to just 20 starts (109 1/3 innings) this season after requiring two stints on the injured list due to low back and right shoulder inflammation.

If the two sides cannot come to an agreement, Eovaldi could still elect to accept the qualifying offer, re-establish his value, and hit the open market again at the conclusion of his age-33 campaign. The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier reports that Eovaldi and his family have loved their time in Boston, so that could play a factor as well.

Either way, the Red Sox have ensured that they will be compensated in the event that Bogaerts or Eovaldi leave in free agency. After spending past the $230 million luxury tax threshold this year, Boston would receive a compensatory draft pick that falls after the fourth round of the 2023 draft if Bogaerts or Eovaldi reject the qualifying offer and sign elsewhere this winter.

Last year, for instance, the Red Sox extended a qualifying offer to Eduardo Rodriguez. The left-hander ultimately rejected it and went on to sign a four-year, $77 million with the Tigers. As a result, the Sox were awarded with the 79th overall pick in the 2022 draft, which they used on high school outfielder Roman Anthony.

The Red Sox also showed a willingness to sign a qualified free agent last offseason. After inking second baseman Trevor Story to a six-year, $140 million deal in March, Boston was forced to give up the 61st overall pick in the draft.

If the Red Sox were to sign a qualified free agent (not including Bogaerts or Eovaldi) this winter, they would have to forfeit their second-and fifth-highest pick in next year’s draft. They would also see their international signing bonus pool be reduced by $1 million as a result of exceeding the competitive balance tax threshold.

In addition to Bogaerts and Eovaldi, 12 other players received qualifying offers on Thursday. The two All-Stars were joined by Aaron Judge, Trea Turner, Jacob deGrom, Dansby Swanson, Carlos Rodon, Brandon Nimmo, Wilson Contreras, Chris Bassitt, Anthony Rizzo, Tyler Anderson, Martin Perez, and Joc Pederson.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers named finalists for 2022 All-MLB Team

Red Sox infielders Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers have been named finalists for the 2022 All-MLB Team, Major League Baseball announced on Thursday.

Bogaerts was one of 10 shortstops selected to the ballot while Devers was one of nine third basemen. The two teammates are already up for Silver Slugger Awards at their respective positions in the American League.

While Silver Slugger and Gold Glove Awards recognize the top offensive and defensive player at each position in each league, the purpose of the All-MLB Team is to commemorate the best players at each position across baseball for what they did during the regular season.

Since its inception in 2019, three different Red Sox players have earned All-MLB honors. Bogaerts was a first-team selection at shortstop three years ago while Devers and outfielder Mookie Betts were second-team selections in 2021 and 2019, respectively.

Betts is yet again up for All-MLB recognition after another All-Star season with the Dodgers. The same can be said for two more familiar faces in the Brewers’ Hunter Renfroe and the Phillies’ Kyle Schwarber.

Fans have until 5 p.m. eastern time on Tuesday, November 22, to vote for who they think should make the fourth-annual All-MLB team. Fan voting accounts for 50 percent of the vote. The other 50 percent will be made up by a baseball media panel.

Of the 116 players who were selected as finalists on Thursday, only 32 will be named to the first- or second-team. Those winners will be revealed during the Winter Meetings from San Diego on Monday, December 5.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Xander Bogaerts officially becomes free agent after opting out of Red Sox contract

Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts has officially opted out of his contract and is now a free agent, the Major League Baseball Players Association announced earlier Monday morning.

Bogaerts had until Tuesday to decide if he would opt out of the remaining three years and $60 million of the six-year, $120 million extension he originally signed in April 2019. The Boras Corp. client was expected to opt out and the Red Sox will now extend him a $19.65 million qualifying offer within the next three days.

In the same way that he declined to opt in to his deal, Bogaerts is also expected to turn down Boston’s qualifying offer by the November 20 deadline. Since they exceeded the $230 million luxury tax threshold this season, the Red Sox would receive a compensatory 2023 draft pick that falls after the fourth round if Bogaerts were to sign elsewhere this winter.

With that being said, the Red Sox can negotiate exclusively with Bogaerts until Thursday. The right-handed hitting infielder is coming off an impressive 2022 campaign in which he batted .307/.377/.456 with 38 doubles, 15 home runs, 73 RBIs, 84 runs scored, eight stolen bases, 57 walks, and 118 strikeouts over 150 games (557 plate appearances). He finished third in the American League batting race and was named a Gold Glove Award finalist for just the second time in his 10-year career.

On the heels of such a productive season, Bogaerts has put himself in position for a promising payday that would far exceed the $60 million left on his original deal. The New York Post’s Jon Heyman projects that the 30-year-old All-Star net an eight-year, $225 million deal in free agency this offseason. MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo adds that Bogaerts could seek a shorter-term deal with a higher average annual value.

Either way, Bogaerts has joined a talented free agent class at shortstop that includes the likes of Carlos Correa, Dansby Swanson, and Trea Turner. He also joined Nathan Eovaldi, Rich Hill, Michael Wacha, Matt Strahm, and J.D. Martinez as members of the 2022 Red Sox to elect free agency.

Since their season ended last month, the Red Sox have made it clear that they would like to have Bogaerts back in 2023 and beyond. Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom described re-signing Bogaerts as a top priority during the club’s end-of-season press conference at Fenway Park. They are now on the clock to prove as much.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Barring last-minute extension, Xander Bogaerts will opt out of Red Sox contract; what happens after that?

Depending on when the World Series ends, Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts is expected to opt out of the remainder of his contract and become a free agent by next Wednesday at the latest.

Bogaerts initially signed a six-year, $120 million extension to remain with the Sox ahead of his age-26 season in 2019. The deal went into effect in 2020 and afforded the Boras Corp. client the opportunity to opt out after three years if he wanted to test the open market at the conclusion of the 2022 season.

Now 30 years old, Bogaerts has put himself in position for a promising payday this winter that would far exceed the $60 million remaining on his current deal. In 150 games this season, the right-handed hitter batted .307/.377/.456 with 38 doubles, 15 home runs, 73 RBIs, 84 runs scored, eight stolen bases, 57 walks, and 118 strikeouts over 557 plate appearances.

Though the power numbers were down from where they usually are, Bogaerts still finished third in the American League Batting race behind the Twins’ Luis Arraez and the Yankees’ Aaron Judge. He also had a stellar year defensively and was named a Gold Glove Award finalist for just the second time in his 10-year career.

Even before Opening Day in April, the Red Sox — knowing full well that Bogaerts was likely to opt out — made it known that they wanted to keep their All-Star shortstop in Boston long-term. Whether it came from manager Alex Cora, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, or president and CEO Sam Kennedy, it seemed as though the club was intent on bringing Bogaerts back for 2023 and beyond.

During the team’s end-of-season press conference at Fenway Park on October 6, Bloom emphasized that extension talks with Bogaerts were the top priority and were “going to start right away.” That same day, Sean McAdam of the Boston Sports Journal reported that Bogaerts had met with Red Sox principal owner John Henry and team chairman Tom Werner several times before heading home to Aruba.

Since then, however, it does not appear that talks between the two sides have gained much traction. The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier reported on Thursday that “barring an 11th-hour extension — which a source familiar with the talks considered unlikely as of last week — Bogaerts will opt out.”

On Friday, The New York Post’s Jon Heyman projected that Bogaerts would net an eight-year, $225 million deal in free agency this offseason. The average annual value on that hypothetical contract comes out to $28.125 million, which represents a 42.5 percent raise from the $20 million he would earn over the next three seasons if he were to opt in.

An eight-year deal would take Bogaerts through his age-37 season. As noted by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, though, Bogaerts could elect to pursue a shorter-term deal that would exceed $30 million in average annual value.

Given that Bogaerts’ is slated to make more than $20 million per year moving forward, he is unlikely to accept the $19.65 million qualifying offer the Red Sox will extend to him within the next seven days. If Bogaerts were to sign elsewhere this winter, Boston would receive a compensatory 2023 draft pick that falls after the fourth round since it exceeded the luxury tax threshold this year.

With all that being said, Bogaerts is slated to be part of a loaded free agent class at shortstop that includes the likes of Carlos Correa, Trea Turner, and Dansby Swanson.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)