Bloom: Bogaerts is Sox's 'first choice' at short

November 9th, 2022

This story was excerpted from Ian Browne’s Red Sox Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Everyone knew it was coming. But it was still jarring for a Red Sox fan to see it when the news landed on various local and national platforms on Monday.
Xander Bogaerts opts out of final three years of his contract, becomes a free agent.”
For the first time since he signed with Boston as a 16-year-old international free agent out of Aruba in 2009, Bogaerts is no longer a member of the Red Sox.
However, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom hopes this status is only temporary.
“We’re not happy that he’s opted out. It’s disappointing because Xander has been credit to this organization every day that he’s been in it. We want him here,” Bloom told The Boston Globe and The Athletic upon arrival at the GM Meetings in Las Vegas on Monday night.
“He makes us better. We’re not shocked. We expected this. Free agency is a big part of this game. It’s a big deal for players. When he signed the extension, he chose to forgo that right for a while, and he also made sure that he would have that right again in a few years. That right to have his market fully feted by the market is something that is important to a lot of players. It’s something you have to earn, and he’s earned it.

"We respect his right to exercise it and to explore the market. We want him back, and we will stay engaged with him.”

If Bogaerts can’t find common ground with the only team he’s ever played for, the Red Sox do have some enticing alternatives. There are three other top shortstops on the free agent market in Carlos Correa, Trea Turner and Dansby Swanson. The Sox could also move Trevor Story back to shortstop and spend their money at another position of need, such as second base or outfield.
But in Bogaerts’ case, statistical value is far from the only thing at play.
“He’s our first choice,” Bloom said. “That’s not going to change. But part of our jobs is to explore every option to field a contending team next year and put together a really good group. We need to explore every possible way to do that, but Bogey’s our first choice.”