12:19am: It’s actually a $275MM guarantee, reports Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune (Twitter link).
11:40pm: The deal contains a full no-trade provision; it does not contain any opt-clauses, reports Jon Morosi of MLB.com (on Twitter).
11:21pm: The Padres are in agreement with Xander Bogaerts on an 11-year, $280MM deal, reports Jon Heyman of the New York Post (Twitter link). It’s a stunning development, with the four-time All-Star leaving the only organization he’s ever known to join the Padres on a staggering commitment.
Bogaerts had spent his whole career in Boston, originally joining the organization as an amateur signee from Aruba back in 2009. He quickly developed into one of the sport’s top prospects and was in the majors by August 2013, a few months before his 21st birthday. Bogaerts claimed two Silver Slugger awards within his first four MLB seasons, but his .283/.339/.409 career slash line through 2017 was roughly league average overall. He took a major step forward in 2018, however, reaching another level by his age-25 campaign.
He hit .288/.360/.522 with 23 home runs over 136 games that season, helping lead Boston to 108 wins and a World Series title. Bogaerts sustained that new level of excellence, as he’s been a well above-average offensive performer in each of the four years since then. Going back to the start of the 2018 campaign, the righty-hitting infielder owns a .300/.373/.507 line that checks in 34 percentage points above league average by measure of wRC+.
On the heels of that breakout season, the Red Sox inked Bogaerts to a long-term deal in April 2019. Boston guaranteed him $120MM between 2020-25, allowing him to opt out with half that money remaining after 2022. Bogaerts played well enough to earn some MVP votes in each of the four seasons since signing that extension, making it a no-brainer he’d take his opt-out opportunity unless he and the Red Sox could preemptively agree upon a new deal.
Extension talks this spring didn’t come close, as Boston reportedly offered to tack on one additional season to the deal at $30MM. Turning that down was easy call for Bogaerts’ camp, and he solidified his opt-out decision with another excellent year. Through 631 plate appearances, he hit .307/.377/.456. Bogaerts’ 15 home runs were his lowest full-season total since 2017, but he finished tenth in the majors (minimum 500 plate appearances) in on-base percentage.
A career-best .362 batting average on balls in play propped up those rate stats, and it’s unlikely he’ll manage to sustain quite so lofty a mark in future seasons. He owns a career .336 BABIP, though, so there’s plenty of room to remain a well above-average even if his average comes down slightly. He’s walked at an average or better clip in each of the past five years, and he’s kept his strikeout rate remarkably consistent around 18% six seasons running.
Bogaerts makes contact, draws walks and typically threatens or tops 20 homers per season. He’s one of the more well-rounded offensive players in the game, and he’ll step right into an already loaded San Diego lineup. Bogaerts joins Manny Machado, Juan Soto and Fernando Tatis Jr. in the middle of a lineup that should be incredibly difficult for opposing pitchers to navigate. That quintet has 11 combined Silver Slugger awards, and they’ll bring an incredible collection of weapons from both sides of the dish.
Where to pencil everyone in on the diamond is a decision the front office and manager Bob Melvin will work out over the coming months. San Diego’s middle infield was already strong. Tatis, two years removed from inking a $341MM extension to serve as the franchise shortstop, will return from his performance-enhancing drug suspension within the first month of next season. Ha-Seong Kim is a Gold Glove caliber shortstop who had a solid .251/.325/.383 line in his second big league campaign. Jake Cronenworth is an above-average defender at second base and owns a .257/.339/.443 line through his first three seasons.
At least for the moment, Bogaerts seems likely to step in at shortstop. Scott Boras categorically rejected the possibility of Bogaerts moving off the position earlier this offseason. Perhaps the strength of the Padres offer changed that thinking, but it’s also possible the Friars rearrange their infield to accommodate his wishes. San Diego had already been considering the idea of moving Tatis to the outfield after his lost season in deference to Kim. Pushing Tatis into left or center field now seems especially likely. Bogaerts could step in at shortstop, with Kim moving to second base and Cronenworth taking the uncertain first base position.
Bogaerts’ glove has been the subject of immense attention throughout the free agent process. The 6’2″, 218-pounder has a larger build than many shortstops, and he’s drawn some criticism for lacking prototypical range. Public defensive metrics roundly panned Bogaerts’ glove throughout his career, with Defensive Runs Saved pegging him below par every year from 2014-21. Concerns about his long-term defensive outlook seemingly played in Boston’s low extension offer this past spring, but Bogaerts posted the strongest defensive metrics of his career in 2022.
In 1249 2/3 innings this past season, he rated as five runs above average by DRS and four runs better than par according to Statcast. Concerns about his lateral quickness into his 30’s figure to persist, but his strong 2022 campaign at least reduced any urgency to move him off shortstop immediately.
More to come.
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