If the Red Sox let Xander Bogaerts slip away, here’s who they might get instead
Xander Bogaerts is officially a free agent, and dangerously close to slipping away from the Boston Red Sox. That is, if they wanted to re-sign him in the first place.
Bogaerts opted out of his contract on Monday, and that news came amid a lack of positive signs for the Red Sox’prospects of bringing him back. And one of the first reports out of the GM Meetings in Las Vegas is certainly not promising for anyone hoping Bogaerts would remain in Boston.
The report is from Mark Feinsand at MLB.com, and it paints a picture of a Red Sox team that still views Bogaerts as their “Plan A” at shortstop, but feels relatively comfortable going with “Plan B.” It feels too much like the real plan is to move on from Bogaerts and shift Trevor Story to shortstop.
Zolak & Bertrand | Is Xander Bogaerts As Good As Gone?
A source went on the record with Feinsand as saying: “It doesn’t seem like they’re going to spend big on a shortstop. They knew this was a possibility when they signed [Trevor] Story last year.”
Feinsand reported that the Red Sox “have started reaching out to some teams regarding the availability of their second basemen,” in hopes of having a trade ready to pull the trigger on in the event that Bogaerts leaves. The Red Sox won’t be able to replace Bogaerts’ total package with a second baseman, certainly not in free agency, but could land a solid starter via trade.
The shortstop market is exceptional this off-season, with Bogaerts joining Carlos Correa, Trea Turner, and Dansby Swanson. But if the Red Sox do want to spend on a big name in free agency, it seems like they prefer to do it at a different position, and they’ll have opportunities. Outfielder Aaron Judge, and starting pitchers Jacob de Grom and Carlos Rodon, are among the biggest names available. Or they could, you know, pay Rafael Devers.
Anyway, here’s a quick list of second base possibilities to know about ahead of a crucial off-season for the Red Sox, in the (likely) event that they’re losing Bogaerts…
Luis Arraez, Twins
Aug 24, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Minnesota Twins third baseman Luis Arraez (2) hits a single against the Boston Red Sox during the fourth inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
Red Sox fans may know Arraez from playing very well against the Red Sox. He batted .304 with a home run and six RBIs in seven games against Boston last season. He can play first, second, or third base, and they could certainly use versatility for those particular spots. As the reigning AL batting champion, Arraez is likely to land himself a good number via arbitration. Then, and only then, can the Red Sox explore a possible trade for him.
Jeff McNeil, Mets
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – OCTOBER 04: Jeff McNeil #1 of the New York Mets reacts after he hit a solo home run in the first inning against the Washington Nationals during game two of a double header at Citi Field on October 04, 2022 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
A late bloomer, McNeil first made the major leagues at age 26 with the Mets. He’s since established himself as one of the better offensive second baseman in the game. McNeil doesn’t have big-time power, but he did launch 27 homers in 2019 and still posted an .836 OPS in 2022. Like Arraez, McNeil is also coming off a batting title (.326) and is arbitration-eligible going into 2023.
Chris Taylor, Dodgers
WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 23: Chris Taylor #3 of the Los Angeles Dodgers drives in a run with a triple in the fourth inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on May 23, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Injuries and a lack of production added up to the lowest offensive output of Taylor’s career in 2022. He posted just a .677 OPS while playing in 118 games. Taylor is under contract for the next three seasons at an affordable average of $13.7 million per season, but his trade value may never be lower than now.
Tommy Edman, Cardinals
ST. LOUIS, MO – SEPTEMBER 03: Tommy Edman #19 of the St. Louis Cardinals turns a double play over Ian Happ #8 of the Chicago Cubs during the seventh inning at Busch Stadium on September 3, 2022 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Scott Kane/Getty Images)
Edman is a homegrown talent in his prime, so he doesn’t seem like a trade candidate on the surface. But he also profiles as a guy the Red Sox might call about, so we’ll add him to the list here. Edman played 153 games and while he posted a mere .725 OPS, he also provided Gold Glove-caliber defense at multiple positions – mainly middle infield. Edman isn’t a star, but he’s a legit everyday player.
Jonathan Schoop, Tigers
ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA – MAY 16: Jonathan Schoop #7 of the Detroit Tigers hits a two-run home run in the fourth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on May 16, 2022 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
Let’s be honest, this is more of a Chaim Bloom type of acquisition: a distressed asset on an affordable contract. Schoop is due just $7.5 million in 2023 and in theory wouldn’t cost much in a trade, because he’s coming off the worst season of his career (11 home runs, .561 OPS). But his batting average on balls in play (BABIP) was a ridiculously low .234, indicating that he was extraordinarily unlucky, and he still played excellent defense. A good buy-low candidate for Bloom.
Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. Check out all of Matt’s content here.