Why Xander Bogaerts should care about the Nolan Arenado extension (hint: it involves the Yankees)

Rob Bradford
February 26, 2019 - 6:45 pm

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Barring unforeseen circumstances, Xander Bogaerts won't get nearly the payday Nolan Arenado just reeled in.

The Rockies third baseman bypassed the chance to become a free agent this fall by signing an eight-year, $260 million deal. (The contract reportedly has an opt-out after the 3rd year.) The financial fireworks shouldn't come as a surprise considering the soon-to-be-28-year-old has finished eighth or better in National League MVP voting in each of his last four seasons, hitting 37 or more homers each time.

Bogaerts can't claim such a resume.

But there are some very easily identifiable reasons the Red Sox shortstop should take note of Arenado's agreement. 

For one, it thins out the free agent pool following the 2019 season, one which Bogaerts is still on target to join. Arenado was likely going to be the headliner, but Bogaerts was certainly trending to be in the next tier of high-priced players. If he does hit the open market, the shortstop will be youngest eligible free agent position player (27 years old), while having to compete with the likes of Paul Goldschmidt, Marcell Ozuna, Anthony Rendon, Nick Castellanos, and perhaps Khris Davis (although he will be 32) for the available money allotted to non-pitchers.

Goldschmidt most likely jumps to the top of the list, but considering Bogaerts' age, position, and production, he could certainly slide ahead of Ozuna and Castellanos in the positioning for years and dollars.

Then there is the Yankees dynamic.

As Joel Sherman of the New York Post points out, New York valued Arenado more than even Manny Machado. With an inconsistent Miguel Andujar at third base, it would have been a logical fit. Now Arenado's off the board. That leaves Rendon as the next-best option for the Yankees to fill their future at third base. Unless . . .

The Yankees are working with shortstops on the last year of their deals -- Troy Tulowitzki and Didi Gregorius. With that in mind, and the Arenado option off the table, Bogaerts to New York becomes an even more intriguing possibility. Much of this thought process is going to be fluid, however. It has to be.

When healthy, Gregorius might be perceived as good enough for the Yankees, especially since he'll be cheaper than Bogaerts. But Gregorius isn't healthy. He's recovering from Tommy John surgery that is expected to sideline him until at least June.

A huge factor is also which way Bogaerts goes this season. He finished 2018 with a career-best .883 OPS while proving to be a middle-of-the-order threat behind J.D. Martinez. He puts the ball in play and defensively is coming off perhaps his most consistent season. If the 26-year-old takes another jump, the comparison with Rendon (also a Scott Boras client) will be an interesting one.

There is a long way to go, but at least Arenado has reminded us what might await.