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Peter Abraham | On baseball

Scott Boras: Contract talks with Xander Bogaerts are not happening until after the season

Xander Bogaerts, here celebrating his homer Monday night with J.D. Martinez (28), will have a lot to smile about when he signs his next contract.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Xander Bogaerts opened the door a crack Sunday, saying he would be willing to listen to a “fair” contract extension offer from the Red Sox during the season.

Agent Scott Boras closed that door Tuesday, telling the Globe that any discussions would wait until after the season.

“There won’t be any negotiations during the season. That’s our stance. I look forward to talking to John [Henry] and Tom [Werner] about Xander after their season,” Boras said, referencing the Sox owners.

After the World Series, Bogaerts has the right to opt out of the final three years and $60 million on his current deal. He would be foolish not to, considering the lavish deals shortstops Javier Baez, Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor, and Corey Seager landed in the last 14 months.


In early April, the Red Sox made an initial offer of one year and $30 million added to the $60 million. That was swiftly rejected and was viewed within the industry as being far below Bogaerts’s market value.

“Xander is a proven winner in Boston at a premium position,” Boras said. “Those are difficult players to find.”

If you interpret those comments as meaning Bogaerts is sure to leave the Sox as a free agent, history suggests that’s not necessarily the case.

What does the future hold for Xander Bogaerts?John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Jason Varitek, a Boras client, became a free agent after helping lead the Red Sox to their historic 2004 championship and re-signed with the team on Dec. 24 for four years and $40 million. The contract included a no-trade clause.

The sides were far apart for months before striking a deal.

“We just feel loyalty should be rewarded. That’s a good policy,” Theo Epstein said when the deal was announced at Fenway Park.

Varitek was a proven winner in Boston whose leadership carried weight in the clubhouse. He also very much wanted to stay with the Sox.


The same is all true for Bogaerts, a homegrown two-time World Series champion who is respected throughout the organization.

The Sox named Varitek their team captain when he agreed to his new deal in 2004. Designating a captain has fallen out of favor in baseball. But if the Sox did, it would unquestionably be Bogaerts.

Loyalty and leadership were qualities Epstein recognized as being important in a demanding market such as Boston. Whether Red Sox president of baseball operations Chaim Bloom feels the same way will become clearer in time.

The first round of negotiations suggests the sides have wildly differing views of Bogaerts’s value. That could change, but Bogaerts has adopted the attitude that he has to be prepared for anything, even being traded.

Xander Bogaerts has been a fan favorite since he first arrived in Boston.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

“You see it happen to other players,” he said. “In this game, you can’t let yourself be surprised. I know what can happen.”

Meanwhile, Bogaerts is proving his point on the field, hitting .346 with an .880 OPS. Through Monday, Bogaerts has been worth 1.3 bWAR to the Sox. That’s ahead of Seager (1.1), Lindor (0.8), Baez (0.6), and Correa (0.5).

In second baseman Trevor Story, the Sox theoretically have a player who could replace Bogaerts at shortstop. Story was a two-time All-Star at the position for the Rockies. But Story’s arm strength is a question because of lingering issues with his right elbow and some scouts feel he’s better suited to stay at second.

The Sox also have 19-year-old Marcelo Mayer, the fourth overall pick of the 2021 draft and shortstop of the future. He’s currently at Low A Salem and is several years away from major league consideration.


How Bloom handles this situation will further define what has been an up-and-down tenure.

In 2020, he traded Mookie Betts to the Dodgers for three prospects. Alex Verdugo has been a league average left fielder to date. Jeter Downs and Connor Wong have struggled to hit in Triple A and profile as bench players, if that.

Downs is 23 and Wong turns 26 on Thursday.

The Sox finished in last place without Betts in the abbreviated 2020 season. Some wise personnel moves led to the Sox winning 92 games last season and advancing to the ALCS.

The Sox have been well under .500 since late April this season, thanks largely to an underperforming offense and a bullpen that has been among the worst in the league after an offseason of low-priced additions.

Xander Bogaerts offers a big smile after crossing home plate following a two-run homer at Fenway last season.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

What the fans think is clear. The crowd at Fenway Park chanted “Re-sign Xander” on Monday night after he belted a two-run homer in the eighth inning.

Enjoy those moments while you still can.

Peter Abraham can be reached at peter.abraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.