Knight Xander Bogaerts of the Order of Orange-Nassau

azsoxpatsfan

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Seems crazy that we don’t have a thread for Xander in 2021. Entering play on Monday, he’s hitting .349/.396/.589/.985 with 7 homers, 10 doubles, and a wOBA of .421. He leads all shortstops in average, OBP, SLG, OPS, wOBA, and fWAR (1.6). He’s tied for first among shortstops in doubles, and is tied for third in homers, one behind Bichette and Baez. He leads all of MLB in hits with 45. It was mentioned in the gamethread either yesterday or Saturday that the Sox should give X the C, and I agree. He’s an incredible player, a leader on the team, the longest tenured Sox player, and a two-time champ. Watching him play is so much fun
 

BornToRun

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And with Mookie gone, my favorite Red Sock (don't call them that!). Probably favorite of a lot of people here.
Xander went from one of those guys I loved but was scared to get attached to because of his looming FA but once he signed the extension, he shot to the top part of the list. Guy should never wear another uniform.
 

ookami7m

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What has been great to watch has how he's taken on a leadership role in the clubhouse. With the outsized personalities of Papi, Pedroia, and Mookie all gone, Xander is the guy you see now talking to the other guys after a play goes wrong, and first out of the dugout to celebrate. I was never a big fan of the official captaincy thing with Tek - but if they were ever to do it again Xander would be the guy.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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What has been great to watch has how he's taken on a leadership role in the clubhouse. With the outsized personalities of Papi, Pedroia, and Mookie all gone, Xander is the guy you see now talking to the other guys after a play goes wrong, and first out of the dugout to celebrate. I was never a big fan of the official captaincy thing with Tek - but if they were ever to do it again Xander would be the guy.
Vazquez also seems to have some "captaincy thing" with the other players.
 

azsoxpatsfan

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What has been great to watch has how he's taken on a leadership role in the clubhouse. With the outsized personalities of Papi, Pedroia, and Mookie all gone, Xander is the guy you see now talking to the other guys after a play goes wrong, and first out of the dugout to celebrate. I was never a big fan of the official captaincy thing with Tek - but if they were ever to do it again Xander would be the guy.
Even when mookie was here, I always thought Bogaerts seemed like more of a leader. Obviously it’s impossible to tell from the outside, but even back then if they were to have given out a C I would’ve thought it’d be X
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Pssst... he can (and will) opt out after 2022.
He definitely will considering what he could likely get as a FA. Nothing I really want to think about at all right now....
But..... The Sox won't bring him back. BUT... their overall budget will be considerably more flexible than it currently is: JDM will be (likely) gone. Eovaldi. Payouts for Price is done. Pedroia is done.
 

chawson

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He definitely will considering what he could likely get as a FA. Nothing I really want to think about at all right now....
But..... The Sox won't bring him back. BUT... their overall budget will be considerably more flexible than it currently is: JDM will be (likely) gone. Eovaldi. Payouts for Price is done. Pedroia is done.
More flexible to say the least. If Xander opts out, the Sox will have roughly $163.3M coming off the books by 2023, for a projected $44.4M in payroll commitments (factoring arb estimates). And there might be a totally new luxury tax structure making payroll concerns less important.

The challenge seems more about how to build the best possible team around X and Raffy while finding — and getting them on board with — their optimal long-term positions, if they aren’t in them already.
 

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He definitely will considering what he could likely get as a FA. Nothing I really want to think about at all right now....
But..... The Sox won't bring him back. BUT... their overall budget will be considerably more flexible than it currently is: JDM will be (likely) gone. Eovaldi. Payouts for Price is done. Pedroia is done.
Unless Bogaerts demands top dollar and vows to go to the highest bidder no matter who it is, I think the Red Sox will make a competitive offer and he stays. I just can't see the team letting him walk away without much effort a la Ellsbury or Papelbon. If they make him a market rate offer and some other team goes over the top with a couple extra years or something crazy, so be it.
 

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I'm really impressed by how Eck and Remy just beam about him. Eck has called him his favorite player for years. They talk about his humility and maturity in a way that I don't recall them talking about anyone else. He really does seem like the total package, and I don't think he's going anywhere else.
 

BornToRun

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I’m aware of the opt out and I do think he exercises it. I’m just optimistic that they find a way to keep him around. He took a discount to stay once so I don’t think it’ll be all too shocking if he decides to stay so long as the offer is reasonable. We’d been looking for a long term shortstop since Nomar left when X came along. Mookie didn’t stay, but they need to make damn sure that Xander does.
 

OurF'ingCity

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The Mookie situation was also a total fuck-up by Dombrowski (and ownership, since they signed off on the Eovaldi and Sale contracts that were a key factor in our inability to sign Mookie to the type of contract he wanted). I have faith that Bloom will not make the same mistake. The ideal situation would be that they agree to a market-rate extension prior to X testing the market, just to avoid the possibility that some team makes an insane offer to him. But that all depends on how much Bogaerts wants to test the market vs. just ensure that he is getting paid what he's worth.
 

Minneapolis Millers

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Pssst... he can (and will) opt out after 2022.
You shut up!

But since you brought it up...

I’m of the mind that the Sox should be proactive here (after the season). Ask him to wear the C. Offer to add 2 years and $60M to his deal in lieu of the opt-out.

Thoughts? I think he can opt out and get a lot more. The trick is to offer him the right mix of love and money to stay.
 

brandonchristensen

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You shut up!

But since you brought it up...

I’m of the mind that the Sox should be proactive here (after the season). Ask him to wear the C. Offer to add 2 years and $60M to his deal in lieu of the opt-out.

Thoughts? I think he can opt out and get a lot more. The trick is to offer him the right mix of love and money to stay.
Yes. 100%.
 

Madmartigan

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It’s taken some time, but it’s extremely cool to see him developing into the power hitting superstar many scouts projected he would be, and for me it’s taken some of the sting out of losing Betts. Dear God don’t let him opt out.
 

Kliq

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I'm not holding my breath that noted big contract signer Chaim Bloom and this current era of FSG ownership is going to be inking X to a huge deal if he opts out. I could actually see the Sox dealing him if they think he is going to opt out.
 

A Bad Man

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Bit of a dead horse, but how do we evaluate X's defense? By OOA and DRS he's been essentially league-worst, and by UZR...average?
 

BornToRun

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I'm not holding my breath that noted big contract signer Chaim Bloom and this current era of FSG ownership is going to be inking X to a huge deal if he opts out. I could actually see the Sox dealing him if they think he is going to opt out.
This ain’t Tampa. This ownership group has earned the benefit of the doubt in regards to paying up.
 

azsoxpatsfan

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Bit of a dead horse, but how do we evaluate X's defense? By OOA and DRS he's been essentially league-worst, and by UZR...average?
I tend to trust UZR more, partially because the eye test doesn’t match up with him being as awful as DRS says, but mainly because I trust Fangraphs’ metrics more than anyone else’s.

The main differences between the stats are that DRS uses batted ball timer data, while UZR does not, which arguably is a point in favor of DRS. That said, UZR uses partial runs, while DRS just rounds up which is kind of annoying, and UZR has UZR/150 which allows you to compare guys who have differences in playing time, and DRS doesn’t have this (although I guess it’d be easy to calculate)
 

A Bad Man

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I tend to trust UZR more, partially because the eye test doesn’t match up with him being as awful as DRS says, but mainly because I trust Fangraphs’ metrics more than anyone else’s.

The main differences between the stats are that DRS uses batted ball timer data, while UZR does not, which arguably is a point in favor of DRS. That said, UZR uses partial runs, while DRS just rounds up which is kind of annoying, and UZR has UZR/150 which allows you to compare guys who have differences in playing time, and DRS doesn’t have this (although I guess it’d be easy to calculate)
Does anyone have a BP account? This article looks helpful in the defensive metric discussion. Apparently, it finds that OAA is the best for infield defense.
 

grimshaw

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Xander has been my favorite non-Mookie prospect and player to watch since he first set foot in the minors. It's been a joy to see someone make himself better every year putting the effort in when there were a few seasons with little else to root for. I think he is the steadiest all-star player personality they have had since Varitek.

You shut up!

But since you brought it up...

I’m of the mind that the Sox should be proactive here (after the season). Ask him to wear the C. Offer to add 2 years and $60M to his deal in lieu of the opt-out.

Thoughts? I think he can opt out and get a lot more. The trick is to offer him the right mix of love and money to stay.
I'm generally dispassionate about locking up players I enjoy watching to long term deals past their prime. I thought the Mookie trade was a coup and I was excited they made that move to see what Bloom would be looking for. I wasn't against them looking into dealing Bogaerts last season to maximize the return when the system desperately needed multiple young and cheap players. Since that deal they have lost zero production and still have a blue chipper near ready. I already trust Bloom to make a smart decision.

That said, I think there is maybe a little extra emphasis in trying to retain him this time around due to the Mookie blow back. I don't mind them stretching a bit by adding extra seasons as long as they are reasonably priced like they were with Pedey because it won't sink their payroll.

We are also talking about another season and 3/4 of production. It's not out of the realm of possibility, his defense at SS is near worst in the league by then and they adjust his value accordingly. Defense up the middle doesn't improve over time.
 
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Mantush

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What do you think Bogaerts is realistically worth on the open market? Lindor just signed for 10 / 341. Would you sign Bogaerts to that? Frankly, I love Bogey, but I'm not sure he's a player I want tied up until he's 39 or 40. I'd probably go 4 / 120 or 5 / 150. He's not a player I want tied up from his age 34 to 39 season, as given his already poor defensive metrics, he's someone that will have to be moved off the position eventually.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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What do you think Bogaerts is realistically worth on the open market? Lindor just signed for 10 / 341. Would you sign Bogaerts to that? Frankly, I love Bogey, but I'm not sure he's a player I want tied up until he's 39 or 40. I'd probably go 4 / 120 or 5 / 150. He's not a player I want tied up from his age 34 to 39 season, as given his already poor defensive metrics, he's someone that will have to be moved off the position eventually.
Yeah... that's the crux of the issue right there. Could he/would he move to 3rd? And would he be worth the cost there? Would Devers accept PT field play and mostly DH? Who steps in at SS... there's nobody really in the pipeline expected there, so that would likely be a FA signing and suddenly Devers, extended Xander and FA SS are taking up $80M of payroll..... (assuming we've extended Devers). Presumably the 2B and 1B situations are at pre-arb discount years
 

Mantush

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If I recall correctly from Homegrown (and I may not be recalling correctly), didn’t Bogaerts get upset he was playing third base? He sees himself as a shortstop. Maybe that’s not true now (or a few years from now) but it’s something that probably should be considered when evaluating a hypothetical position change.
 

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If I recall correctly from Homegrown (and I may not be recalling correctly), didn’t Bogaerts get upset he was playing third base? He sees himself as a shortstop. Maybe that’s not true now (or a few years from now) but it’s something that probably should be considered when evaluating a hypothetical position change.
Whether he will take, shall we say, the "Jeter route" when he's older remains to be seen. However, I think speculation about whether he will move to another position is pointless unless and until there is a tangible and superior alternative for short. He's never going to admit he'd be open to moving for some vague and arbitrary reason, now or in the future.

And the Red Sox certainly can't try to use a nebulous future position change as a negotiation ploy. If he opts out or they renegotiate his deal to avoid the opt-out, they have to deal with him as if he's going to be the starting SS for the foreseeable future. Because any other team looking to get him is going to be signing him to a "shortstop" contract, not a "might eventually be a 3B or 2B" contract.
 

azsoxpatsfan

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Xander has a career UZR/150 of -0.2, which means he’s been very barely below average as a defender according to Fangraphs. Fielding is one of the earlier skills to decline in most cases, but talk of moving him seems extremely premature. We’ve been having these convos since like 2014, and I get that DRS has him as being awful for whatever reason, but it seems unwise to make a decision as big as not signing him to a long-term deal based on very inconclusive evidence that he’s a bad fielder and thus may have to be moved to third base (where he was a much worse fielder FWIW). If X will have to be moved off of short, then so will Correa, Tim Anderson, Bichette, and Tatis to name a few. I don’t know what his contract should end up being, but I don’t think it’s a scenario where you have to pay him like a shortstop just for him to play third
 

Kliq

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With the shift and three true outcomes overtaking baseball, defense at SS has never been less relevant. That doesn't mean it doesn't matter, but you can get away with a below-average glove at SS in a way that you probably couldn't in previous generations.
 

BaseballJones

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With the shift and three true outcomes overtaking baseball, defense at SS has never been less relevant. That doesn't mean it doesn't matter, but you can get away with a below-average glove at SS in a way that you probably couldn't in previous generations.
When you have a SS hitting like Bogaerts does, you can live with whatever his defensive liabilities are. And to be honest, I don't see too many liabilities with him. He *seems* pretty solid in the field to me.
 

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Xander has a career UZR/150 of -0.2, which means he’s been very barely below average as a defender according to Fangraphs. Fielding is one of the earlier skills to decline in most cases, but talk of moving him seems extremely premature. We’ve been having these convos since like 2014, and I get that DRS has him as being awful for whatever reason, but it seems unwise to make a decision as big as not signing him to a long-term deal based on very inconclusive evidence that he’s a bad fielder and thus may have to be moved to third base (where he was a much worse fielder FWIW). If X will have to be moved off of short, then so will Correa, Tim Anderson, Bichette, and Tatis to name a few. I don’t know what his contract should end up being, but I don’t think it’s a scenario where you have to pay him like a shortstop just for him to play third
My point earlier was to say that if you think he's a poor SS and that the Red Sox should negotiate with a desire/expectation that he will not be at SS long term, then he's gone the moment he opts out.

They're not keeping him if they don't treat him like they plan for him to be their SS for the length of the deal. Even if he most likely will end up at another position at some point.
 

JimD

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Discussion of a contract extension for X is certainly premature given that we have no idea what the financial landscape is going to look like after the coming labor dispute is finally resolved. The parameters that will be in place after that has played out will go a long ways towards determining the club's available options to lock up Bogaerts (and likely Devers and EdRo among others).
 

chrisfont9

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Discussion of a contract extension for X is certainly premature given that we have no idea what the financial landscape is going to look like after the coming labor dispute is finally resolved. The parameters that will be in place after that has played out will go a long ways towards determining the club's available options to lock up Bogaerts (and likely Devers and EdRo among others).
The team will have endless space under the tax. Sale has an opt-out that year (which he probably won't exercise unless he's back to ace form, and even then??), and Eovaldi's deal is up, as is JD's. The largest contract on the books in 2023 right now is Sawamura at $3m, followed by dead money for Manny and Pedroia at $2+m. Obviously there are Arb contracts that will happen then too, and with Devers approaching FA he'll probably get paid in there. But it's not hard to see Bogaerts testing to see if he can improve on $20m, and it won't be hard to see that the Sox can afford it, barring massive changes in baseball's economics.
 
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brandonchristensen

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Does Xander's age at the opt-out change anything? Going into age 30 is much different than going into age 27 when he signed with the perceived offensive peak being in those 3 years.

I like the idea of signing an extension after this season to the tune of 2/60 making him 8/180.
 

jmcc5400

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Xander is now at 2.3 fWAR, second behind Trouts 2.4. Vlad Jr also at 2.3
He'd have a pretty good case for AL MVP at this point if the season ended today, assuming that the Sox' record (and turnaround) would give him a little bump over guys like Buxton and Trout to make up for any statistical gap.
 

azsoxpatsfan

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He'd have a pretty good case for AL MVP at this point if the season ended today, assuming that the Sox' record (and turnaround) would give him a little bump over guys like Buxton and Trout to make up for any statistical gap.
Buxton is actually at 2.5 fWAR, he wasn’t showing up on fangraphs leaderboard because he’s not qualified and I was looking at the batting leaderboard. Agreed though, that the Sox being significantly better than the Twins would work in X’s favor
 

Hairps

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Bogaert's prowess on the basepaths is an overlooked part of his game (at least it has been for me). Since the beginning of last year's abbreviated season, he's been the 4th-best baserunner in all of MLB, according to FanGraphs' metric.

That leaderboard shines an interesting light on what's involved in being a good baserunner as well, as only one of the top 10 is among the 10-fastest player in the game according to StatCast's sprint speed. Trevor Story, for example, has been the best baserunner since the beginning of last year according to FG's metric, yet he's only the 48th-fastest player in MLB. Joey Gallo, the eighth-best baserunner, is the 229th fastest.
 

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If I recall correctly from Homegrown (and I may not be recalling correctly), didn’t Bogaerts get upset he was playing third base? He sees himself as a shortstop. Maybe that’s not true now (or a few years from now) but it’s something that probably should be considered when evaluating a hypothetical position change.
This is my only concern with signing Bogaerts long term. Whatever you think of the metrics, he's clearly not a tremendous defensive shortstop so if he bangs up his knee and loses a step, he's untenable at the position. I'm sure he could adjust to playing third, second, or even first, but I'm not sure he'd want to and that could be a problem.
 

Al Zarilla

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This is my only concern with signing Bogaerts long term. Whatever you think of the metrics, he's clearly not a tremendous defensive shortstop so if he bangs up his knee and loses a step, he's untenable at the position. I'm sure he could adjust to playing third, second, or even first, but I'm not sure he'd want to and that could be a problem.
The guy Xander wears number 2 for was not a good defensive shortstop from the getgo nor all throughout his career but did they ever consider moving him off of short? I doubt it. Leadership, intangibles, all that come into play. I don't think Cora considers moving X off short as long as he's here, with the highest regard we hear Alex has for him. He wants to keep him happy.
 

jmcc5400

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I didn't see this noted elsewhere, but I thought it was noteworthy that Bogaerts praised Roenicke for his handling of the team last year in the context of a question about Cora's return during his postgame interview last night . I thought is was a gracious touch.
 

chawson

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This is my only concern with signing Bogaerts long term. Whatever you think of the metrics, he's clearly not a tremendous defensive shortstop so if he bangs up his knee and loses a step, he's untenable at the position. I'm sure he could adjust to playing third, second, or even first, but I'm not sure he'd want to and that could be a problem.
You’re right. But that also seems universally true of anyone at this point.

A year ago, Story and Seager all seemed (to me) like upgrades to Bogaerts on both sides of the ball. Since then, Lindor’s offensive baseline has substantially diminished; Seager’s ground ball rate spiked and defense plummeted before he sustained a hand injury; and Story has put up a 86 wRC+ over his last 315 PAs (and is also hurt).

By fWAR, here’s where Bogaerts ranks among all MLB shortstops:
Since 2017: 2nd (Lindor)
Since 2018: 1st
Since 2019: 2nd (Semien)
Since 2020: 3rd (Tatis, Turner)

I’d been thinking for awhile that the Sox should target Story, but now I doubt it’s worth it. It still could make sense to sign Semien, like Bloom reportedly wanted to do last winter, as an elite 2B who can also be X-opt out insurance. But otherwise, we really can’t do any better than Bogaerts.
 

bosockboy

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You’re right. But that also seems universally true of anyone at this point.

A year ago, Story and Seager all seemed (to me) like upgrades to Bogaerts on both sides of the ball. Since then, Lindor’s offensive baseline has substantially diminished; Seager’s ground ball rate spiked and defense plummeted before he sustained a hand injury; and Story has put up a 86 wRC+ over his last 315 PAs (and is also hurt).

By fWAR, here’s where Bogaerts ranks among all MLB shortstops:
Since 2017: 2nd (Lindor)
Since 2018: 1st
Since 2019: 2nd (Semien)
Since 2020: 3rd (Tatis, Turner)

I’d been thinking for awhile that the Sox should target Story, but now I doubt it’s worth it. It still could make sense to sign Semien, like Bloom reportedly wanted to do last winter, as an elite 2B who can also be X-opt out insurance. But otherwise, we really can’t do any better than Bogaerts.
Wouldn’t Semien block Downs?
 

Kliq

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In the era of three-true-outcomes and shifting on every play, the value of a good defensive shortstop has really been minimized.
 

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Wouldn’t Semien block Downs?
In more ways than one. So far this season in Worcester, Downs has played twice as much SS as 2B. If he makes the majors as expected, he is not only the solution at 2B but also X-opts-out insurance for SS. And way cheaper (and younger) than Marcus Semien.
 

Van Everyman

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I didn't see this noted elsewhere, but I thought it was noteworthy that Bogaerts praised Roenicke for his handling of the team last year in the context of a question about Cora's return during his postgame interview last night . I thought is was a gracious touch.
Noted that as well. Says a lot about him.

My favorite player right now.
 

chawson

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In more ways than one. So far this season in Worcester, Downs has played twice as much SS as 2B. If he makes the majors as expected, he is not only the solution at 2B but also X-opts-out insurance for SS. And way cheaper (and younger) than Marcus Semien.
That’s fair. I had thought Downs was limited at short but that’s a good solution if the bat is there.
 

OnTheBlack

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A face of the franchise type player. Does he have the range of some other SS? No. But he’s great at every other facet of the game and is a great person and leader. Lock him up and don’t think twice.