Xander Bogaerts is well aware of his new normal.
Now, in his ninth season with the Boston Red Sox, he isn’t just a really good player. He’s arguably the best shortstop in Major League Baseball.
As such, the six-year, $120 million contract extension Bogaerts signed in 2019 looks like a bargain, especially with fellow shortstops Francisco Lindor (10 years, $341 million) and Fernando Tatis Jr. (14 years, $340 million) since receiving massive paydays.
“At that time when I signed, I knew I had some good years, but they weren’t as good as they have been these last couple of years,” Bogaerts recently told WEEI’s Rob Bradford. “I knew I was a good player, but I’ve taken to another level since then. Hey man, you get paid a lot of money, you’ve to to show up and earn it.”
Bogaerts ranks first among MLB shortstops in fWAR (11.6), wRC+ (141), hits (322), home runs (55), RBIs (183), on-base percentage (.379), slugging percentage (.542) and OPS (.921) since the beginning of 2019. He’s second in average (.310), trailing only Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson (.325), who won the American League batting title in 2019.
This raises the question: Will Bogaerts, who turns 29 in October, exercise the opt-out in his contract after next season, when the market for his services could be even more robust with several shortstops expected to cash in as free agents this winter?
“Obviously, I know I love the city, but you know how all those guys are getting paid and stuff like that,” Bogaerts told Bradford. “So when that time comes, we’ll see what happens. It’s very interesting. A lot of guys are getting what they deserve. We’ll see what happens.”
Bogaerts, a superstar on and off the field, has blossomed into everything the Red Sox hoped, and his words and his desire to sign a team-friendly extension in 2019 suggest he greatly enjoys playing in Boston.
It’s impossible to predict what the future holds, but it’s fair to assume the sides will explore ways to continue their relationship, even if Bogaerts ultimately plans to opt out of his current deal after the 2022 campaign.