The Red Sox have yet to make their ‘top priority’ a top priority this offseason
December 5th, 2022
Re-signing Xander Bogaerts is the Red Sox “top priority” this offseason. At least, that’s what the front office has told us. On October 6, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom answered in the affirmative when asked if retaining Bogaerts was going to be the team’s “top priority” this winter.
A little over a month later at the winter meetings, Bloom’s priorities hadn’t shifted, at least not openly. When asked about the ongoing negotiations, he referred to Bogaerts as “our first choice” and “Option A.”
While the Red Sox are saying all the right things when it comes to the 30-year-old four-time All-Star, their actions seemingly haven’t backed up their words – especially given the reports that have come out over the last few days.
More: Tony Mazz reacts to latest Xander Bogaerts news
On Wednesday, long-time MLB insider Peter Gammons tweeted that he’s been told by front office representing three different teams that “they’ve been told [Bogaerts] has severed Boston ties and won’t be going back.” While both the Red Sox and Bogaerts’ agent Scott Boras refuted that report later in the day, the notion still hasn’t gone away.
Despite that, Gammons’ intitial report was only strengthened by another report from Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe on Sunday. According to Abraham, who cites two sources, “Xander Bogaerts has been meeting in person with interested teams this weekend and the Red Sox have not made a competitive offer.”
Abraham added he asked the source as a follow up “have they (the Red Sox) screwed this up?”
“The answer was yes,” he relays from the source. “Fixable? Maybe, but not looking very good right now.”
News: Two sources say Xander Bogaerts has been meeting in person with interested teams this weekend and that the #RedSox have not made a competitive offer.
My question was: Have they screwed this up? The answer was yes.
Fixable? Maybe, but not looking very good right now.
If Bogaerts’ really is the Red Sox’s top priority, they certainly have a funny way of showing it. Not only has the team apparently not made progress on a new deal with the franchise’s longest-tenured player, if anything they seem to have somehow instead pushed him further out the door of Fenway Park.
One of two things is happening here. Either Red Sox brass is telling the fans what they know they want to hear all while knowing full well they don’t plan on following the path they’re laying out publicly, or they’re fully unaware of how a “top priority” player really should be treated in the modern game.
This is all frustrating for Red Sox fans, but not unfamiliar. In the past, the Red Sox have openly committed to retaining players, only to fail to back up those comments financially. Jon Lester and Mookie Betts are the two main examples of this, although both were traded before they ultimately hit free agency.
Jared Carrabis of DraftKings may have put it best on Twitter Sunday night. “You can’t make Papi go year to year then pay Pablo and Hanley. You can’t not pay Lester then pay Price. You can’t trade Mookie for an unsatisfactory return. You can’t pay Story and not pay Xander.”
The reason why Red Sox fans are so pissed even after four titles is simple. You can't make Papi go year to year then pay Pablo and Hanley. You can't not pay Lester then pay Price. You can't trade Mookie for an unsatisfactory return. You can't pay Story and not pay Xander.
It’s a pattern the Red Sox seem to be in danger of falling into once again – being reluctant to financially reward players who have earned and deserve it, then throwing good money after bad to overcompensate for the loss. That pattern is why, even less than five year’s removed from the team’s fourth World Series title this decade, some are still skeptical with the direction of the organization.
Meanwhile, other teams seem to be jumping at the bit to make Bogaerts their “top priority.” That’s the exact phrasing USA Today’s Bob Nigthengale used when discussing the Chicago Cubs’ pursuit of Bogaerts. “The Chicago Cubs, who have boldly said they plan to build a contender, significantly raising their payroll, have Bogaerts as their top priority,” he wrote on Sunday. The Cubs aren’t alone either, as both the San Diego Padres and Philadelphia Phillies have reportedly shown interest in Bogaerts as well.
Reading the tea leaves, it seems like things are racing towards the end of the Xander Bogaerts era in Boston. Unless the Red Sox truly start treating Bogaerts like the “top priority” that they publicly acknowledge he is, the pattern is bound to repeat itself again.
Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarthor via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.