Xander Bogaerts’ fate with the Boston Red Sox has been in question ever since Trevor Story was signed. Should they keep Bogaerts or let him go?
Beloved Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts is one of the most well-known players in baseball. He made his MLB debut with the Red Sox in 2013 and has made history with them over the years — starting the most games at shortstop in franchise history since World War II. He’s also won two World Series.
He’s arguably one of the best shortstops in Red Sox history. However, the organization is considering the idea of letting him leave.
Trevor Story was signed by the Red Sox this year which has made fans question what will happen with Bogaerts. Story is a shortstop, formerly with the Colorado Rockies, but he has been moved to second base with the Red Sox for now.
He had never played second base in the major leagues, but he has played it in the minors. He only played second base briefly, so he is much more experienced at shortstop.
Story’s struggles bring the Red Sox’s strategy into question. The free-agent acquisition is slashing just .206/.281/.304 in 26 games.
Should the Boston Red Sox keep Trevor Story at second base?
Story may have had to work a little bit harder in spring training while switching to second base, but he has expressed that he feels comfortable, via NESN.
"“It was something me and my family and my team had to talk about a lot. I’ve been saying my whole career it’s about winning. This was a really good fit for me this year playing second on this team, with the Red Sox. Obviously, (it’s) a truncated spring training and everyone’s crunched on time as of now, and I definitely fall in that boat, but playing second is something I’m comfortable with. It’s something I did a lot in the minor leagues, (and) playing on that second I feel like I’ve done a lot of that in the shift over the past few years.”"
Story being so willing to change positions could be a positive thing for the Red Sox. He will still bring the same passion and willingness to learn, which is extremely beneficial. It’s also helpful that he has prior experience at second base. He won’t be entirely new to the position, and he will have a foundation of experience to work from.
Though he would perform better at shortstop because of his expertise, he would still provide a lot of skill and reliability at second base. Story is a great defensive player with speed and throwing accuracy, and he’s also (normally) a great offensive player that shows versatility. Assuming he didn’t suddenly regress and this is all just early-season struggles, Boston ought to be very happy with their acquisition in the months to come.
His throw-in speed is above average and he can undoubtedly perform well in another spot. In terms of ability, the Red Sox can rely on Story getting the job done at second base.
Would Xander Bogaerts or Trevor Story perform better at shortstop?
Bogaerts and Story are both immensely talented shortstops. Bogaerts has higher stats than Story in most fielding areas, but he also made his MLB debut three years earlier.
Story is also a powerful two-way shortstop, and when he is healthy, he plays a strong game. According to RoxPile, “Despite the injury in 2021, Story is still a very defensive shortstop as he had 9 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) in 2021. Since he has been in the majors (since 2016), he has had 14, 12, 7, 21, 6, and 9 DRS in each season. The lowest (6) was also in the 2020 season that was shortened to just 60 games due to the pandemic.”
Story’s tough start to the 2022 season has made the Red Sox decision even tougher, however. Going into the season, Boston and Chaim Bloom may have viewed Story as the likely heir-apparent to Bogaerts should he not return next season, but now, can he be trusted long-term?
Will Red Sox bring back Xander Bogaerts?
The Red Sox are a wealthy franchise. Their value has consistently increased every year, and they are currently worth $3.9 billion, a 13 percent increase from last year. Their current highest-paid player is pitcher Chris Sale. Sale is getting paid $30 million this year, which is slightly less than Bogaerts is asking for. Bogaerts, moving toward a free-agency after this season, is asking to be paid among the highest-paid shortstops between $33 and $35.1 million.
The Red Sox offered a spot to Bogaerts to stay, but it wasn’t what a deal he was hoping for. According to the New York Post, “[Bogaerts] received an offer from Boston to simply add one year to the three he has his left on his deal. Sources suggest it was for about $30 million in that extra year, bringing his potential total to about $90 million.” His current salary is equalling $20 million per year. If the Red Sox agree to pay him what he wants, he will only stay if he can continue to play at shortstop.
The franchise faced a similar situation earlier in the season with third baseman Rafael Devers. Devers wanted a long contract that would make him a “Red Sox for life,” but the Red Sox offered him a one year extension at $11.2 million. With Devers and Bogaerts both potentially entering free agency after this season, it may be financially difficult for the Red Sox to keep both players around, and both have been highly beneficial for the franchise. However, they are one of the wealthiest franchises in the league and could dish out enough to each player in a free agency to keep them around another season.
If the Red Sox recall history, they traded away Mookie Betts, one of the best players in franchise history, because of not meeting pay demands. According to NBC Sports Boston, “The narrative surrounding Boston’s negotiations with Betts is the Red Sox offered him a $300 million contract extension, but the 28-year-old wanted $420 million. Boston then decided the price was too steep and traded Betts rather than risking him leaving in free agency for nothing in 2021. The Dodgers signed Betts to a 12-year, $365 million contract extension five months later.”
From the instances with Betts and Devers, the Red Sox have a history of pushing away their talented players and not paying what they deserve.
Story was signed this year with the Red Sox for $140 million, a contract that will last through the 2027 season. This is $20 million more than Bogaerts was signed for, but Bogaerts deserves to be paid the difference in a free agency. Story and Bogaerts have similar skill-level, but Story is more willing to play any position whereas Bogaerts, at least thus far, is not.
By switching Story to second base, as the Red Sox have done so far this season, they are opening more opportunities for coverage all over the field, and positional flexibility. Keeping both Bogaerts and Story would be beneficial for the Red Sox, and paying Bogaerts what he’s asking for would be a wise investment considering he’s one of the best and most consistent players on the team.
Should the Red Sox risk losing Xander Bogaerts to have Trevor Story play at shortstop?
Seemingly, the safer option would be to keep Bogaerts at shortstop because he has long-tenured history and credibility with the team. Why should the Red Sox try to change something that’s already working well for them?
They’re playing with the idea that Story could provide something better than Bogaerts, which right now feels a little farfetched.
Story, however, is a lot more willing to play where he is needed and is embracing his new second base position for the time being. In the case that Bogaerts gets injured, Story will still be around and be able to step up. Having the two on the same team would be ideal for any franchise, and the Red Sox are in a fortunate spot.
Though Story has potential to offer more at shortstop, the Red Sox would still be at a huge loss if they let Bogaerts go.