SAN DIEGO -- The Padres closed down their hometown Winter Meetings in style by adding the big-time bat they'd been searching for all week long.
Shortstop Xander Bogaerts agreed to an 11-year deal with the Padres on Friday. Terms of the deal were not announced, but a source told MLB.com that it's worth $280 million. Bogaerts' contract features no opt-outs and a full no-trade clause.
“We are very excited to add Xander to the San Diego Padres,” general manager A.J. Preller said. “His consistency and top-level production places him among the best players in our game. Xander’s makeup and championship pedigree are a strong fit for our team as we look to achieve our goal of bringing a World Series championship to San Diego.”
Bogaerts posted a slash line of .307/.377/.456 with 15 home runs last season and is the owner of a .292 career average, 1,410 career hits and a pair of World Series rings, with the 2013 and '18 Red Sox.
After missing out on those two free-agent prizes, the Padres weren’t about to whiff on a third. It’s undoubtedly a steep price to pay -- and the 30-year-old Bogaerts is now under contract with the Padres until he turns 41. But more than anything, Bogaerts’ arrival is further proof of the Padres’ win-now ambitions.
There has been no final decision from the team on where Bogaerts will play. But multiple sources posited that his signing with the Padres was likely contingent on his presence at shortstop. That could see Tatis embark upon a permanent move to the outfield, with Kim sliding to second base and Jake Cronenworth moving to first base.
"When you have athletes that can play different positions, it at least opens you up to different conversations," Preller said earlier this week.
The Padres still would like to add at least one more bat this winter (though don't expect another splash quite this big). Realistically, the Padres would be looking to add a first base/designated hitter type to the mix, which could see their lineup look something like this, once Tatis returns from his suspension in mid-April:
After the season, the Red Sox extended a qualifying offer, which Bogaerts rejected, meaning the Padres -- having exceeded the Competitive Balance Tax threshold in 2022 -- will pay a penalty for signing him. They will lose both their second- and fifth-round Draft picks, as well as $1 million from their international pool.
There are long-term considerations, too. Namely: Bogaerts has been mostly below-average defensively and isn’t likely to age well at shortstop. At some point, San Diego will need to move him away from the position. His arrival could be viewed as insurance at third base, in case Machado were to opt out of the remaining five years on his contract next winter. But the Padres fully intend to keep Machado on board. Perhaps Bogaerts slides to second (or elsewhere) later in his deal.
But that’s a problem for another day. The signing is merely the latest indication that the Padres are in win-now mode -- though that's been evident for a long, long time now.
Those trades depleted the Padres' farm system. They also helped carry the team to its first National League Championship Series in 24 years, with memorable victories over the Dodgers and Mets in the postseason.
But the Padres want more than a trip to the NLCS. A franchise in search of its first World Series title has made it abundantly clear it plans to do everything in its power to snap that 54-season drought.
Enter Bogaerts, owner of 181 career postseason plate appearances and a pair of rings.
The Padres could still use another starting pitcher or two. They could use another bopper, and they have holes to plug on their bench and in middle relief.
But they wanted a middle-of-the-order presence, someone to elevate their lineup from top-heavy to truly fearsome.
As the Winter Meetings came to their conclusion on Wednesday night -- as the baseball world packed its things and departed San Diego -- the home team had last licks, after all.