ARLINGTON, Texas — Xander Bogaerts is on track to break the record for most starts by a Red Sox shortstop sometime in early June.
Everett Scott, who helped the Sox win three World Series, established the record of 1,081 way back in 1921, then was traded to the Yankees in the offseason.
It’s hard for Bogaerts not to wonder if history will repeat itself.
He has the right to opt out of the final three years of his contract after the World Series and speculation has already started that the Sox will trade him later this season if they fall further out of contention.
“I feel like I’m really trying to enjoy the moment now,” Bogaerts said Sunday before a 7-1 loss against the Texas Rangers. “Sometimes when you’re alone you have those thoughts, wondering what will happen. But for the most part this year, it’s been truly cool to stay in the moment.”
The Red Sox do not have a captain, but the 29-year-old Bogaerts is clearly their leader. His focus has been on trying to drag the 13-21 Sox back to .500 after a slow start, not his own future.
But the business side of the game he loves isn’t easy to compartmentalize. The Sox approached Bogaerts and agent Scott Boras with an extension offer in spring training that would have added one year and $30 million to his current deal.
That would mean a four-year agreement for $90 million, an average of $22.5 million a season.
Carlos Correa signed with the Minnesota Twins for $35.1 million this season and has two option years at the same amount.
Corey Seager signed with the Rangers for 10 seasons and $325 million. Francisco Lindor’s deal with the Mets averages $34.1 million.
That the Sox didn’t come close to what his value would be on the open market led Bogaerts to shut down further negotiations until after the season.
But he backed off that stance a bit on Sunday.
“I don’t know how this would work. But if they talk to Scott behind closed doors and it’s something that’s fair, he can come to me,” Bogaerts said. “We’ll see how that goes.”
Red Sox president Sam Kennedy has said retaining Bogaerts is a priority. But then the Sox were similarly complimentary of Mookie Betts right up until they traded him to the Dodgers in 2020.
This case is different. Bogaerts wears No. 2 out of respect for Derek Jeter, who played his entire career with the Yankees. The idea of staying with the Sox until he retires has long been a goal.
But after eight years in the majors, Bogaerts realizes how uncommon that has become.
“You don’t see it anymore. The game has changed a lot,” he said. “Everyone is aware of it. Realistically that’s just the way it is. I started in an era where that was something I considered to be a goal. But it’s hard.”
If there’s an exception, it should be Bogaerts.
His first trip to the United States from his native Aruba was to Bangor to play in the 2009 Senior Little League World Series. He then rode in a van four hours to Fenway Park and signed with the Red Sox.
Bogaerts was 16 at the time. He made his major league debut at 20, helping the Red Sox win the 2013 World Series. At 29, Bogaerts stands as one of the most accomplished players in franchise history.
There are now two World Series rings, three All-Star appearances, and four Silver Slugger awards on his résumé. Few players around the game are more respected.
Bogaerts generally avoids social media unless it’s to catch up on news about European soccer. But his friends and family pass along rumors, and the latest is the St. Louis Cardinals would be interested in Bogaerts if the Sox make him available.
“I’ve been through it all here, when we’re not playing too good and when we’re playing through the roof,” Bogaerts said. “Sometimes we’re talking about who we’re getting and sometimes it’s who is leaving. I’m very realistic.
“We have a lot more games to play but we have to go get it soon or anything can happen.”
Bogaerts is in All-Star form again, hitting .344 with a .846 OPS.
“You can’t look at a trade as a bad thing, I guess,” Bogaerts said. “It means a team wants you. That St. Louis thing seems to be early but what can you do?
“I want to be here and help this team get going. This is my team. But everything is not in my control. I’ll give this team everything I can until the last day. I hope it’s not for a long time.”