Xander Bogaerts seemingly is one of the Boston Red Sox’s few sure things right now.
Not only is the 27-year-old coming off a breakout 2019 season, which earned him All-MLB First Team honors Tuesday. He’s also entering the first season of a six-year, $120 million contract extension he signed this past April. It would be shocking if Bogaerts didn’t man shortstop for the Red Sox in 2020.
It’s unclear who exactly will join Bogaerts in comprising Boston’s core moving forward, though, as several notable players, including outfielders Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr., have been the subjects of trade rumors this offseason with the Red Sox aiming to trim payroll.
“Obviously, you want the whole team to be back, but it’s getting to the point where you have to make tough decisions,” Bogaerts said Tuesday, according to MassLive.com, upon dropping by the Major League Baseball winter meetings in San Diego to accept his All-MLB award. “I’m happy I’m not the one that has to make them, because if it was up to me, I’d try to keep everyone. They have the good guys in position for that now. I’m also anxious to see what’s going to happen because there’s been a lot of talk and a lot of uncertainty.”
Betts and Bradley — both free agents after the 2020 season — aren’t the only players whose futures hang in the balance. Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom — hired in October to head the organization’s baseball operations department in wake of Dave Dombrowski’s departure — might need to get creative for Boston to make good on its desire not to surpass the $208 million luxury-tax threshold. And one imagines he’ll leave no stone unturned.
That reality has led to more uncertainty than usual surrounding Boston’s roster, which remained mostly intact last offseason after the Red Sox’s 2018 World Series victory, but could look very different in the coming months. Bogaerts, like most of Red Sox Nation, is patiently waiting for the dust to settle.
“I know there’s a lot of stories and a lot of stuff being said about the team and what moves we should or shouldn’t do,” Bogaerts said. “I can’t keep up with them all. We’ll see what happens. When spring training comes around, we’ll have a better idea of where we’re at as a team. As of now, I’m also waiting.”
No matter what, the Red Sox again will face stiff competition in the American League East, especially with the reigning division champion New York Yankees landing ace Gerrit Cole on Tuesday in free agency.
Thumbnail photo via Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports Images