Bogaerts Extension may Shape Sox Next Off-season Plan

Photo Credit: Stephen Brashear / Getty Images

Dave Dombrowski may have unofficially extended his own contract with Boston.

After bringing in J.D. Martinez last season to help the Red Sox win their fourth World Series of the century, he started off the 2019 season by locking up Chris Sale long-term. Now he has Xander Bogaerts set to stay in Boston for the foreseeable future, with the team officially announcing they’ve signed him to a six-year extension (2020-2025) and a vesting option for 2026.

(Bogaerts also has an opt-out, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN.)

So much for the Red Sox having a short championship window.

This now puts the Red Sox in an odd position regarding J.D. Martinez in Mookie Betts.

Extending Bogaerts was the right move, though it didn’t seem like an easy one on the surface. That’s not solely because Boston’s shortstop is a Scott Boras client.

A few years ago, it appeared Bogaerts was a bust. A decent shortstop, but not one worth a significant payday, especially with Betts on the roster.

Bogaerts has become one of the league’s best offensive shortstops and has figured things out defensively — not to the point where he’s a gold glover, but he’s where he needs to be. Keeping him around turned into an ideal scenario, though still not at the expense of Betts and Martinez if it came to that. However, with the way the market is developed, it’s become unclear whether the Red Sox can hold on to both — because you can’t forget the ever-pesky luxury tax.

Furthermore, with Boston unable to come to an agreement on an extension with Betts, the Red Sox were put in an odd spot. Can you extend Sale without Betts being locked up? Can you afford Bogaerts without knowing where Betts stands? Will Martinez opt-out? If so, how do you handle everyone else?

Everything starts with Betts. Or that’s how it felt at first.

The no-brainer plan B approach — a Red Sox team without Betts — is to sign everyone else to keep the team in the World Series hunt. From the looks of things, Boston already has a head start on that.

Does that mean they’re ready to move on from Betts? Does Martinez then become the priority if he opts out? Or are they keeping the band together so he knows he’ll be re-signing with a contender?

It’s likely the latter option. But if Martinez opts out (which he likely will) and Betts doesn’t extend early in the off-season, Dombrowski will find himself in another tight spot.

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