The San Diego Padres dug deep and made sure that baseball’s winter meetings wouldn’t pack up and leave town without them stealing the headlines—and another team’s star player. They were unable to lure Trea Turner from the East Coast and were unsuccessful in their attempts to snag Aaron Judge from the New York Yankees.
Before the clock struck midnight on the West Coast on Wednesday, the Padres, who already had two shortstops and two $300 million players on their roster, defied Mission Valley convention and signed Xander Bogaerts to an 11-year, $280 million deal.
A baseball official with firsthand knowledge of the deal said that the Padres will grant Bogaerts, 30, a complete no-trade clause. Due to the deal’s ongoing status, the individual spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity.
On the one hand, it was a bi-coastal shocker because the Padres already have shortstops. On the roster are Ha-Seong Kim and Fernando Tatis Jr., who is currently recovering from two surgeries and a PED suspension and is under contract through 2034 for $340 million. Oh, and Manny Machado, the third baseman, has a 10-year, $300 million contract.
And in Boston, where Bogaerts chose to end his six-year, $120 million contract with the Red Sox after the 2022 campaign and was seen both internally and externally as a key player the Red Sox had to keep, it was maybe an even larger shock.
Momentum appeared to be moving in that direction on Wednesday when the Red Sox spoke with Bogaerts and, in the interim, strengthened their core by signing Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida and closer Kenley Jansen to deals worth a combined $136 million.
The Padres, however, swung last and this time made contact, just as they did with Turner and Judge.
How the Yankees were able to re-sign Aaron Judge and cement his legacy during the MLB free agency period
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With MVP finalist Machado, trade deadline addition Juan Soto, and eventually Tatis, who will serve the final 20 games of his ban at the start of the 2023 season, he will join what you almost have to label a powerhouse squad.
While the expense of those talents in 2023 will be significant ($85 million for all four), it will shield the Padres from potential exodus. After the 2019 season, Machado will have the option to end his contract, and Soto will likely exercise the same right after 2024.
The Red Sox shouldn’t be concerned about such issues after any attempts to re-sign Bogaerts seriously flirted with contemporary market realities.
Over the previous five seasons, Bogaerts’ final average and OPS+ were never lower than.285 and 125, respectively. Only one other player, Dodgers All-Star Freddie Freeman, has managed that accomplishment.
He started at shortstop and set a franchise record for games played in a career in 2022. He finished the year with 171 hits and a.307 batting average, placing third in the American League batting title race. He also had the highest FanGraphs WAR (6.0) among AL shortstops and the highest average (.305) and OBP of any shortstop in the major league.
The Red Sox have had him since he was a youngster, and he first played shortstop for them when he was 20 years old. That squad won the World Series in 2013 and won it again in 2018.
After one season, the team’s new general manager Chaim Bloom traded Mookie Betts away. Bogaerts has already left as well, and Trevor Story, who got a six-year, $140 million contract right after the March lockout ended, is most likely his replacement. One of the four notable free agency shortstops available this winter was Bogaerts. Turner and the Philadelphia Phillies reached an agreement on an 11-year, $300 million contract. Dansby Swanson and Carlos Correa are currently unsigned free agents.