News has spread that one of the best shortstops in Major League Baseball, Xander Bogaerts, is expected to opt-out of the remaining years on his contract and hit free agency after this season, which means a Xander Bogaerts free agency battle is upon us.
One of the best players in the game at his position, Bogaerts is batting .318 on the season, with 6 home runs and 31 RBIs. He is tied for 4th in the league in batting average, and his defensive play is second to none.
Opting out of his contract raises some questions for Boston and MLB fans; Where will he end up? His play demands money, and teams are willing to pay it, so a large contract offer may draw him away from Beantown. The winner of the Xander Bogaerts free agency battle is yet to be known, so I’m here to give my top options.
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Back to Boston
Bogaerts has said time and time again that he wants to stay in Boston, and understandably so. He loves Boston and Boston loves him, so opting out may have just been a way to secure a longer, more lucrative contract to stay at home.
However, what worries me the most is player depth. Christian Arroyo backs up Trevor Story at 2nd, while Story is set as the second string for Bogaerts. With Bogaerts gone, moving some players around still leaves Boston with a well-rounded team, just with less star power and more cap space.
Go! Cubs! Go!
There is a wave around the league and throughout MLB executives that the Cubs are in cahoots to snag Bogaerts in free agency. Although they may be a bit out of the way and leaving Boston may be hard, the stars may be aligned for this team.
Chicago has Nico Hoerner at shortstop, who is a good enough player on his own, putting up similar (yet lesser) stats to Bogaerts at the position. However, they have no depth at most infield positions, and Hoerner could find heavy value in the trade market. Bogaerts is clearly the superior player, and the Cubs have some of the worst pitching in baseball, making Hoerner valuable draft capital.
Sleeper Pick: Washington Nationals
There isn’t any talk about the Nationals signing Bogaerts this offseason, I just believe that a struggling team needs to make a big move. This team has money, needs star power, and their infield needs some serious work.
Luis Garcia is solid at the position, but Cesar Hernandez at second base is easily replaced. I have nothing against Hernandez, other than his age and inability to perform on offense. Move Garcia to second and put Bogaerts at his natural position, and you have a revamped offense that can bat in runs like no other.
Final Thoughts on Xander Bogaerts Free Agency
Although Boston is the best bet to bring Bogaerts back, it is more than possible that big money changes his mind. Chicago and even Washington have decent markets, and both teams have money on hand. I believe strongly that either of these teams may have just enough pull to grab Bogaert’s attention and sweep him away. However, as of now, Boston seems like the best bet, but don’t sleep on the Nationals.