Red Sox, Xander Bogaerts agree to 6-year deal worth $120m
SEATTLE — The Red Sox reached an agreement with shortstop Xander Bogaerts on a long-term deal that would keep the 26-year-old and two-time World Series winner in Boston well beyond his eligibility for free agency after the 2019 season.
The Sox announced the agreement on Monday.
According to multiple major league sources on Sunday night, the sides were nearing agreement on a six-year, $120 million deal that will take effect in 2020, after the conclusion of Bogaerts’s one-year, $12 million deal for the 2019 campaign. The deal, which is not yet finalized, includes an opt-out after 2022 and a $20 million team option for 2026, which will become guaranteed with 535 plate appearances in 2025, so long as he is healthy at the end of that season.
Both Bogaerts and Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski on Sunday night declined to comment on the status of an agreement.
Bogaerts is the second Red Sox player in less than two weeks to eschew free agency in order to extend his time in Boston. Chris Sale likewise agreed to an extension, reaching a five-year, $145 million deal that runs through 2024.
Bogaerts was signed along with his twin brother, catcher Jair Bogaerts, by the Red Sox as an amateur out of Aruba almost 10 years ago, in August 2009. He flew through their minor league system and in late 2013 become the youngest position player, at age 20, to make his big league debut with the Red Sox in more than 40 years, and played a key role in the Red Sox’ title run that October.
Though Bogaerts struggled in his first full season of 2014, he emerged as a Silver Slugger winner as the top offensive shortstop in the American League in both 2015 and 2016, claiming the starting nod in the 2016 All-Star Game in San Diego. After injuries led to a down year in 2017, Bogaerts rebounded with a standout campaign in 2018, hitting .288 with a career-high in on-base percentage (.360), slugging (.522), homers (23), RBIs (103), doubles (45), and extra-base hits (71).
Manager Alex Cora frequently places Bogaerts among the top shortstops in the league, and his 2018 season certainly gave credence to the claim. According to Fangraphs, Bogaerts’s overall performance was worth 4.8 Wins Above Replacement, 24th among big league position players and sixth among big league shortstops.
To the Red Sox, the performance wasn’t shocking. To the contrary, it represented confirmation of the player the team thought he could become throughout his minor league career.
“If we were to project something going back five, seven years, yeah, this is the shortstop I hoped he’d be — an above-average hitter with above-average power. He’s played very consistent defense,” assistant GM Eddie Romero, who saw Bogaerts coming through the minors, said last fall. “I do think this is the Xander that [the Red Sox expected], someone who’s a stalwart in the middle of your lineup.”
Now that he has emerged in such a role, he appears likely to spend much if not all of his prime years with the only team for whom he’s ever played.