Xander Bogaerts' foray into MLB free agency has reportedly taken a dramatic twist.
According to longtime MLB reporter Peter Gammons, the four-time All-Star shortstop has ruled out a return to the Red Sox, the only organization he has known in his decorated professional career.
Gammons, citing "front office folks" from three different organizations, is telling teams that he has "severed ties" with the Red Sox and "won't be going back" to Boston.
However, the former Boston Globe columnist and ESPN contributor cautions that there's "no confirmation" whether Bogaerts' apparent break with the Sox is merely a ploy for "negotiating leverage" or is final.
Gammons' tweet came in response to the latest Hot Stove report from The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, who detailed apparent talks between Bogaerts' camp and the San Diego Padres.
According to Rosenthal, the Padres asked Bogaerts whether he would be interested in playing a position other than shortstop. Bogaerts' agent, Scott Boras, told Rosenthal that the conversation with the Padres never took place, and reiterated that Bogaerts wants to play shortstop.
Bogaerts' position has been something of a topic of intrigue for several seasons, with fans and defensive metrics split over exactly how effective he's been with the glove.
In any event, it seems Bogaerts is set on remaining at his longtime position, where he has notched an impressive five Silver Slugger awards. Whether that apparent preference will be a factor in free agency remains to be seen.
What could be a factor is the relative depth of free-agent shortstops. Joining Bogaerts on the market are several star-caliber players, including Carlos Correa, Trea Turner, and Dansby Swanson.
Whether talks involving these players have reached advanced stages remains unclear, though this week it was reported that the Phillies have emerged as the favorites for Turner.
With respect to Bogaerts, separate reports have indicated that there's no shortage of possible suitors.
According to Spanish analyst Marino Pepén, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs and Minnesota Twins were interested in Bogaerts. Additionally, the Philadelphia Phillies, San Diego Padres and the incumbent Red Sox were also courting Bogaerts, which others have previously reported.
Meanwhile, ESPN's Buster Olney told host Rob Bradford on the "Baseball Isn't Boring" podcast that the Yankees could also be in on Bogaerts -- if they lose out on slugger Aaron Judge.
As to what kind of contract Bogaerts will secure, it likely won't be cheap. MLB Trade Rumors has projected that the five-time Silver Slugger Award winner will receive a seven-year, $189 million deal. But in comparison to Turner -- eight years for $168 million -- and Correa -- nine years for $288 million -- some teams may see Bogaerts as a better investment.