Xander Bogaerts joins his favorite podcast
SAN DIEGO - Anger. Amazement. Confusion. Disappointment.
Processing the news that broke just after midnight - that Xander Bogaerts was headed to the San Diego Padres thanks to a monstrous 11-year, $280 million contract - was anything but cut and dried for anyone caring that the Red Sox' de facto captain would most likely be spending more years wearing brown and yellow than red and white.
This was something. Something that many were trying to prepare for, but ultimately couldn’t possibly envision. Bogaerts not a Red Sox? Sure. But to the Padres? At these levels of years and cash? That might take a moment to sink in.
The Red Sox were never going to reach that level when setting a price tag on Bogaerts’ services. In fact, there's a strong argument no other team in baseball was going to come close. But how many times have you heard it only takes one? This one was San Diego.
OK. Now the part that is going to sting.
The Red Sox absolutely blew this. And now they are really going to pay the price.
It was all too ironic that the Grand Hyatt hotel that Chaim Bloom left was the very same venue where the Red Sox were presented with an eerily similar conundrum eight years before. That time they let Jon Lester get to free agency, which was where the Red Sox ultimately lost the always-treacherous free agency showdown with the Cubs.
In 2019, principal owner John Henry admitted they screwed that one up. With 24 days left in 2022, they lived that life again.
Ask yourself this: If the Red Sox had any idea that this sort of early-December shock-and-awe deal was a possibility when throwing an offer at Bogaerts toward the end of spring training, do you think that offer of one extra year might look a little different? One would hope so. And while it might have been impossible to predict this sort of landing spot, it is indisputable that the Lester lesson was not learned.
That best foot forward - or at least something close to it - has to be wedged between the player and one single day of free agency. Because, as the Red Sox discovered the hard way, once the outsiders start introducing themselves, those April offers start to look sillier by the day.
Lester wanted to stay and if a representative offer was delivered before free agency, he would have stayed. It’s a good guess the same goes for Bogaerts. That is the heart of the matter. Hard stop.
They will tell you that Bogaerts’ agent, Scott Boras, wasn’t going to allow for a reasonable rate, even back in April. Maybe. But the problem with that was the fact that the Red Sox chose not to introduce something resembling their best offer (which the Boston Globe reported as six years, roughly $160 million) during those months when staying in Boston seemed like the player’s priority.
They waited, seemingly secure in their evaluation of what it would take to make ‘Plan A’ the heart of a successful offseason.
The room was not correctly read.
Life will go on for the Red Sox, but not without this misstep offering reminders all over the place.
You want to replace Bogaerts with the likes of Carlos Correa or Dansby Swanson? Get ready to pay the piper for Plan B. And even if the Red Sox decide to bite the bullet and find a course correction by spending the kind of money they had likely been saving for the Rafael Devers Fund, there is hardly a guarantee either would be the kind of fit Bogaerts represented.
Then there is the matter of keeping that final face of the franchise.
Devers’ price tag since the outset of this offseason has gone up exponentially, with the Bogaerts deal pushing it even higher. If the Red Sox truly want this final face of the franchise as their chief building block, there can’t be any semblance of slow-playing the negotiations. And if the third baseman’s ask is so beyond what the Sox can come close to, then the trade scenario they said wasn’t in the cards would need to be introduced.
This isn’t just losing a shortstop. This was losing a way of life that was supposed to be the big, bad Red Sox.
Yes, the Red Sox missed the mark. A fact defined late Wednesday night by Xander Bogaerts’ new team in San Diego.