What if Xander Bogaerts didn't sign? The shortstop reflects

Rob Bradford
August 13, 2019 - 11:19 am

In a season that has seen so much go wrong for the Red Sox, this was something that prevented things from getting even worse.

Xander Bogaerts agreeing to his contract extension has subtly become a hugely important piece of keeping some optimism in the Red Sox' corner going forward.

If Bogaerts was sitting at this point of the season, just a few months away from becoming a free agent, the discomfort of the 2019 campaign would undeniably be amped up appreciably.

"I don’t know," said Bogaerts when asked about how he would feel these days if the shortstop was living life in a contract year on the Bradfo Sho podcast. "I don’t know how I would have dealt with all the …"

Bogaerts and Chris Sale were clearly prioritized by the Red Sox heading into this season, with both players eliminating the chance to hit free agency this coming offseason thanks to extensions. For Bogaerts the payday was a six-year, $120 million deal that allows for an opt-out after the 2022 season.

For the team, this has turned out to be a godsend considering its tenuous payroll situation going forward. If Bogaerts doesn't sign and he hits free agency with the kind of year he is currently having -- .304 batting average, 25 homers, .932 OPS -- at the age of 26 years old we are talking about a whole different ballgame when it comes to building this Red Sox roster.

If the Sox did want to re-sign Bogaerts it could very well cost them something in the vicinity of the Nolan Arenado extension (8 years, $260 million). That would be paying the shortstop $15 million a year more a year than he will be making at least up until the opportunity to opt-out.

And there is this: Trying to find the wiggle room to make a legitimate run at Mookie Betts will have immediately become appreciably more complicated.

Then there is Bogaerts' performance.

Different players handle contract years in different ways, particularly when the stress of a team's wins and losses are weighing on them. It's a dynamic he certainly has contemplated when thinking about what might have been.

"I don’t know. Especially the way our team was playing," said Bogaerts when talking about what life would be like right now without the security of a deal. "We had a lot of ups and downs and that can affect you sometimes because you might want to try and do too much for the team and you start getting into a bigger hole. I wouldn’t know.

"I was more happy with being here and knowing everyone that’s here for all these years and all the guys I came up with, such a special year last year with our coaching staff. I think just knowing everyone from front office down was … These guys always want to win. They’re always going to put out the best team they can possibly put out."

To hear Bogaerts talk more about his season, contract and other interesting pieces of his existence, listen to Ep. 114 of the Bradfo Show by clicking here.