Unable to lure Trea Turner from the East Coast and foiled in their attempts to snag Aaron Judge from the New York Yankees, the San Diego Padres dug deep and ensured baseball’s winter meetings wouldn’t pack up and leave town without them stealing the headlines – and another team’s centerpiece.
The Padres, already with two shortstops and a pair of $300 million men on the roster, threw conventional wisdom to the Mission Valley wind and agreed to an 11-year, $280 million contract with Boston Red Sox cornerstone Xander Bogaerts before the clock struck midnight on the West Coast Wednesday.
Bogaerts, 30, will receive a full no-trade clause from the Padres, according to a baseball official with direct knowledge of the agreement. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because the deal has not yet been completed.
It was a bi-coastal stunner, on one hand because the Padres already have shortstops Fernando Tatis Jr. – signed through 2034 on a $340 million deal but coming off two surgeries and a PED suspension – and Ha-Seong Kim on the roster. Oh, and third baseman Manny Machado is signed to a 10-year, $300 million deal.
And it was perhaps an even bigger stunner in Boston, where Bogaerts opted out of his six-year, $120 million deal with the Red Sox after the 2022 season and was viewed at least in part internally and certainly externally as a linchpin the Red Sox had to retain.
Momentum seemed to develop in that direction Wednesday, when the Red Sox met with Bogaerts and in the meantime augmented their core by signing closer Kenley Jansen and Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida to contracts that totaled $136 million in investments.
But the Padres, as they did with Turner and Judge, swung last – and this time, connected.
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He will join what you almost have to call a super team, what with MVP finalist Machado joined by trade deadline acquisition Juan Soto and eventually reinforced by Tatis, who must serve the final 20 games of his suspension at the the start of the 2023 season.
While those stars will cost a decent chunk in 2023 – roughly $85 million for all four – it does protect the Padres against future defections. Machado can opt out of his contract after next season, and Soto can – and likely will – become a free agent after 2024.
Those are problems the Red Sox mustn’t worry about, not after any attempts to re-sign Bogaerts seriously flirted with modern market realities.
Bogaerts finished with no worse than a .285 average and a 125 OPS+ over each of the past five seasons. The only other player who accomplished that feat is Dodgers All-Star Freddie Freeman.
In 2022, he set a franchise record for career games played and starts at shortstop. He closed out the season with 171 hits and finished third in the American League batting title race with a .307 average. He also led AL shortstops in FanGraphs WAR (6.0) and all major league shortstops in average (.305) and OBP (.376).
Perhaps most notably, he’s been on the Red Sox since he was a teenager, easing into the shortstop role as a 20-year-old rookie on their 2013 World Series-winning team and winning another title in 2018.
One season later, new GM Chaim Bloom traded Mookie Betts off that club. Now, Bogaerts, too, is gone, likely replaced by Trevor Story, who signed a six-year, $140 million deal just after the March lockout ended.
Bogaerts was one of four marquee free agent shortstops on the market this winter. Turner agreed to an 11-year, $300 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson are still free agents.
Contributing: Scott Boeck