Xander Bogaerts opted out of his contract and soon will enter Major League Baseball free agency, but it appears the Red Sox made one final effort to prevent the star shortstop from hitting the open market.
Chaim Bloom on Monday identified Bogaerts as Boston’s top priority this offseason, a sentiment he shared as the Red Sox were in the process of wrapping up their 2022 season. A day later, the club’s chief baseball officer was asked if Boston tried to extend Bogaerts during the month span between the end of its campaign and the start of the MLB offseason.
“What I told you guys the day after the season ended, that he was our top priority and our immediate priority … our actions have reflected that,” Bloom told reporters, per MassLive’s Chris Cotillo.
Bloom also explained Bogaerts is aware of how high the Red Sox are prioritizing him this winter. That said, Bloom knows actions speak much louder than words.
“For him and for everyone who cares about this team, until that’s reflected in an agreement, nobody really cares what I say,” Bloom told reporters. “Until there’s an agreement, it obviously means we aren’t seeing the world exactly the same or that he wants to take the time to look at the market and that’s fine.
“Generally speaking, it’s something that we expected. It’s an important right. It’s a right he has never exercised. He delayed that right and wanted to have the opportunity to exercise it now. That was obviously something that he negotiated for and got. I think we expected it was something that he would want to go do. And we respect it.”
With Bogaerts’ opt-out effectively a foregone conclusion, the Red Sox were forced to outline a backup plan in the event the two-time World Series champion leaves Boston. The club reportedly is exploring the idea of moving Trevor Story back to shortstop and acquiring a second baseman in free agency or via trade.
But as Bloom has expressed on many occasions, the Red Sox’s preferred option is keeping Bogaerts in the uniform he’s worn since 2013.