How his big contract has impacted Xander Bogaerts

Rob Bradford
April 26, 2019 - 9:19 am

There is no instruction manual for how a 27-year-old is to live life after signing a contract that will pay him $120 million. And don't think the uncertainty didn't cross Xander Bogaerts' mind.

"I was curious how I might feel," Bogaerts told WEEI.com "I didn’t know."

Fair enough.

Bogaerts had earned the right to sign his six-year extension with the Red Sox by simply going out and playing baseball. But now he was going to be the guy starting 2020 who would be making $20 million a year well into his 30's. Something had to change and fortunately for the shortstop it did ... in some ways he didn't quite anticipate.

"It might be a peace of mind," he said. "One thing I’ve noticed is that it hasn’t changed the competitiveness. Sometimes you get all that money and you might think you can play relaxed. I think it has actually more like making sure you want to do things to help your team. You feel a bigger responsibility but in a good way. Not adding pressure. But I haven’t had the feeling that I’m good, I’m set.

"Obviously, a lot of young guys on the team are going to look up to you more so you have to be an example. It’s a huge responsibility as me as a individual to really make sure anybody needs help I take care of them."

On the field, it appears as though Bogaerts' new existence fits him well.

After the Red Sox' 7-3 win over the Tigers Thursday night, in with the righty hitter notched a hit and two runs, Bogaerts' numbers are trending right toward the totals of his breakout season in 2018. He is hitting .283 with a .846 OPS and four home runs. (For a complete recap of the Sox' victory, click here.)

Defensively, he has made just one error while showing slightly more range than at any time in his career as a big league shortstop.

After just a few days of uneasiness at the end of spring training due to contract negotiations -- ("It was little bit nerve-wracking at the end when it was crunch-time," he said) -- Bogaerts has simply seemed like a player who is evolving in the manner befitting one of the club's pieces of its foundation. For that, he feels his newfound certainty should get at least some of the credit.

"I think it makes it easier with off the field stuff," Bogaerts explained. "Regardless of if I signed or didn’t, I would have to go out and perform. But off the field I know I’m going to be here and I’m committed here and I enjoy it."

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