In a dark time where Boston Red Sox ownership seems lost, Xander Bogaerts must remain on the roster for years to come.
With all of the trade rumors swirling around a robust trade market on an unstable team, the Red Sox must make a few decisions. While fans might see the team make a few trades that scream “rebuild mode”, the ownership has never given up on the notion of contending outside of the 2020 season. They will certainly not be able to accomplish such a feat without their star shortstop.
Value with the Bat and Glove
While it took a while for the rest of the MLB to see his potential, the Fenway Faithful and ownership took notice early on. Xander’s offense was never really a question. His defense, on the other hand, was a huge work in progress. That was mainly due to a bad start and being forced to play out of his natural position.
In 143 games in 2014, he had 20 errors with a .942 fielding percentage and a .01 fWAR. he has jumped leaps and bounds since then. Bogaerts has a solid case for being one of the top 5 shortstops in the league today. in 153 games last season (his third-most games in a season) he recorded 13 errors, a .975 fielding percentage, and a 6.8 fWAR.
His increase in value even pushed the Red Sox to sign him to a 6-year/$120 million deal before the 2019 season started. His input as a leader on this team has solidified him as the unanimous captain of the ballclub.
New GM Chaim Bloom said this about Bogaerts and fellow infielder Rafael Devers‘ availability: “That’s simple. Those guys are core players for us. They’re incredibly important to our future just as they’ve been important here for a while. I think philosophically I don’t like to think in terms of absolute no’s, but those guys are key players for us. We are very hopeful that they are going to be part of our next championship.”
While it seems that Bogaerts might truly be off the table, for now, it is not comforting enough for the fans, let alone Bogaerts himself. For a player that has had a willingness to stay with the organization by taking on a huge team-friendly deal, the loyalty has not been there in 2020. If Bloom wants to truly build the next great Red Sox contending team, Xander Bogaerts must remain a vital part of its core. He has become the most important player on the roster.
Taking a guy like that out of the Red Sox clubhouse gives players like Devers one less reason to want to stay with this team long term. Bogaerts is a building block not only because of his skills on the field, but because of his presence in the dugout, clubhouse, on the buses, on the team plane, and anywhere else he makes his affable and magnetic personality available to his teammates. It would be very difficult to watch a talent such as Bogaerts leave, but with ownership, you never know what they will do.
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Main Credit Image: Embed from Getty Images