What's next for Sox after Bogaerts' departure

December 8th, 2022

The news of agreeing to terms with the Padres on an 11-year, $280 million contract hit Red Sox Nation hard, and with good reason.

Bogaerts was a franchise cornerstone who helped Boston win World Series titles in 2013 and ’18. He had been with the organization since signing as an international free agent out of Aruba as a 16-year-old in ’09.

The Red Sox had said numerous times that re-signing Bogaerts this offseason was the front office’s “top priority”. But there are never any guarantees in free agency, and the club will have to move on without him.

Here are some possibilities for the Red Sox in the aftermath of Bogaerts heading to San Diego.

Pivot to Swanson
Though Carlos Correa is still out there in free agency, he is likely to get a deal on par with the mega-pacts Trea Turner (Phillies) and Bogaerts agreed to this week. If the Sox weren’t going to go that high for Bogaerts, it stands to reason that they won’t be compelled to do so for Correa.

Which brings us to , the other top shortstop on the free agent market. The Red Sox have been in touch with Swanson’s representatives. Now that bringing back Bogaerts is no longer an option, perhaps they will ratchet up their efforts to sign a 28-year-old who played in all 162 games for the Braves last season while belting 25 homers and stealing 18 bases.

The Red Sox reportedly made a six-year, $160 million offer to Bogaerts. Would they put a similar deal on the table for Swanson? And if so, would that be enough? Time will tell.

Move Story back to short
While was superb defensively for the Red Sox in his move to second base last season, there’s a chance he will move back to his natural position of shortstop to replace Bogaerts.

There are lingering questions about Story’s arm strength due to an elbow injury he played through in 2021 with the Rockies. The Red Sox have said in recent weeks they are confident he has enough in his arm to play shortstop. There is no doubting Story’s athleticism.

No matter what position Story plays next season, the Red Sox need him to be in better health and be more consistent at the plate. He played in only 93 games in ’22, hitting .238 with a .737 OPS.

With Story signed for five more years, getting him back on track will be one of the most important goals for the 2023 Red Sox.

If Story goes to short, do they pursue Segura?
Putting Story back at shortstop could pave the way for the club to sign , the best offensive second baseman available in free agency.

Segura’s club option was declined by the Phillies in November, putting him on the market.

A fractured right index finger limited Segura to 98 games last season and perhaps had something to do with the right-handed hitter putting up his lowest OPS (.723) since 2015. Segura is a solid player -- not a star. It isn’t realistic to replace Bogaerts with one player. Someone like the 32-year-old Segura could be a nice piece to the puzzle.

Could Kiké settle in at SS or 2B?
One of the most valuable things about Kiké Hernández is his defensive versatility. While center field has been Hernández’s primary position in his two years in Boston, he prefers playing the infield.

Hernández looked solid in limited action at shortstop last season, and playing him there would allow Story to take it easy on his throwing elbow.

But if the Sox decide to move Story to short, Hernández could settle back in what most people think is his best defensive position -- second base.

Sign Devers to an extension
If there is one thing the Red Sox don’t want to go through a year from now, it would be being forced to try to bring back star slugger through free agency. That method didn’t work well with Bogaerts.

With substantial payroll coming off the books this offseason, the Red Sox could be in strong financial position to make Devers the type of lucrative offer he seeks.

Devers is 26 years old -- smack in the middle of his prime.

For a fanbase that has seen Mookie Betts and Bogaerts go to other teams in recent years, losing Devers would be a crusher. The Red Sox will continue prioritizing an extension for their third baseman between now and the end of Spring Training.