It’s official: Xander Bogaerts is a free agent.
The Major League Baseball Players Association announced Monday that Bogaerts opted out of his contract with the Red Sox. The All-Star shortstop now can sign with any team on the open market, including Boston, which has expressed interest in continuing the relationship.
Bogaerts had three years and $60 million remaining on his deal, which also included an option for 2026 that would have vested with 535 plate appearances in 2025. That’s obviously a good chunk of change, but Bogaerts’ continued production since signing the six-year extension in April 2019 made opting out inevitable. The 30-year-old stands to land a more lucrative contract in free agency, either with Boston or another franchise.
Bogaerts, a four-time All-Star, is coming off a 2022 season in which he slashed .307/.377/.456 with 15 home runs and 73 RBIs. He also was a Gold Glove finalist in the American League, highlighting the strides he’s made defensively. While there are questions over whether Bogaerts will change positions at some point during his next contract, there’s no denying he’s currently among the best all-around shortstops in MLB.
It certainly will be fascinating to see how Bogaerts’ free agency plays out, with Boston presumably facing competition in its quest to retain his services. Bogaerts signed as an international free agent out of Aruba in 2009, and he’s since evolved into an elite player, a clubhouse leader and a beloved member of the organization.
The MLBPA’s announcement involving Bogaerts also noted eight other MLB players who became free agents, including pitchers Jacob deGrom and Carlos Rodón and fellow shortstop Carlos Correa. Bogaerts and Correa join Trea Turner and Dansby Swanson in comprising a loaded free agency class for shortstops.
The Red Sox fell short of expectations in 2022 after advancing to the AL Championship Series in 2021. Boston finished in last place in the AL East with a 78-84 record. As such, a crucial offseason awaits, with Bogaerts’ free agency clearly among the key storylines to watch.