What’s Trickle-Down Effect If Red Sox Internally Replace Xander Bogaerts?

Trevor Story and Kiké Hernández could be internal fits


Dec 8, 2022

The Red Sox have a franchise cornerstone-sized void to fill with shortstop Xander Bogaerts reportedly leaving Boston and heading to the San Diego Padres on an 11-year agreement.

Bogaerts, who Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom expressed to be the organization’s No. 1 priority this offseason, reportedly will earn $280 million over those 11 seasons. It’s quite the financial commitment to the 30-year-old infielder. So with Boston’s Plan A headed to National League West, the Red Sox are left to sift through Plans B, C and D as they try to compete in the incredibly deep American League East.

There remain options on the open market for the Red Sox. Both Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson, two of the top four shortstops who entered free agency, still are available. There are other lesser-known veterans at the position, too. But should the Red Sox opt to stay away from external adds, they do have internal options to fill Bogaerts’ role.

The Red Sox have said both two-time Major League Baseball All-Star shortstop Trevor Story and the versatile Kiké Hernández can play the position. As it pertains to Story, the potential he could move from second base back to shortstop was a possible outcome as soon as the Red Sox signed him to a six-year, $140 million contract last offseason. Story spent his first six seasons playing shortstop for the Colorado Rockies and recorded a .979 fielding percentage, though his arm strength in the hole was one reason why the move to second base made sense. Hernández, on the other hand, has 64 career starts at shortstop with a similar .978 fielding percentage.

Of course, moving either Story or Hernández would fill one hole and create another. If that proves to be how the Red Sox go about it, Boston then would need to find a new everyday second baseman or center fielder, depending on which was moved. Those positions don’t feature a whole lot of depth on the open market with centerfield headlined by Brandon Nimmo and Kevin Kiermaier and second base highlighted by Jean Segura and Adam Frazier. A trade for an outfielder (perhaps Bryan Reynolds?) isn’t off the table either.

If Story is the one to be moved to shortstop, which feels like the more likely internal scenario, Christian Arroyo is a conceivable option to take over the bag at second base. The 27-year-old Arroyo, who has impressed when in the lineup, hasn’t proven overly reliable due to injuries, though. Fellow infielder Jeter Downs, who made his MLB debut for the Red Sox last season and played 14 games, also spent 56 innings (eight games) at second base. There’s a chance Downs could complement Arroyo at the position, though it would be difficult for either to bring the same pop to the lineup. That offensive production might only exist externally.

Thumbnail photo via Quinn Harris/USA TODAY Images
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