Red Sox executives have told Xander Bogaerts they won’t trade him this summer, the star shortstop told reporters tonight (via Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald). Asked whether he’s been given personal assurance from the front office he would not be dealt, Bogaerts replied, “Yeah. I don’t know if I should say that, but I hope I don’t get in trouble. But yeah, much better like that. Communication is always huge in everything in life. To get that type of feedback is beneficial, I would say.”
It’s not a surprising revelation, as recent reports have suggested the Red Sox weren’t likely to make Bogaerts available. CEO Sam Kennedy and chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom have each publicly stated there’s been no internal consideration of dealing the four-time All-Star, with Bloom adding they “don’t plan to” have those conversations. That they’ve apparently reinforced those sentiments in private with Bogaerts seems to solidify that he won’t change teams before next Tuesday’s deadline.
Bogaerts can (and almost certainly will) opt out of the final three years of his contract this offseason. Boston took tonight’s contest from the Guardians to climb back to .500, but their 50-50 mark still has them narrowly behind the Orioles at the bottom of the AL East. More importantly, they’re 3 1/2 games behind the Rays, current owners of the final Wild Card spot, with Cleveland and Baltimore also in between. Even after tonight’s win, Boston has only taken seven of their 24 games this month. That raises some questions about how Bloom and his staff will approach the deadline.
Even had Bloom and company wanted to move the slugging infielder, executing a trade would’ve been easier said than done. There’d have surely been no shortage of interest in a 29-year-old star shortstop, but Bogaerts has full no-trade protection. Bogaerts could’ve dictated where he’d have been dealt or blocked a move entirely, but he nevertheless seems relieved to hear he won’t have to consider those possibilities.
Bogaerts is certain to receive and reject a qualifying offer if he opts out this winter, so the Red Sox would stand to collect a compensatory draft choice if he signs elsewhere. The more immediate concern is whether the club can right the ship over the final couple months and more closely resemble last year’s 92-win team that earned a trip to the ALCS.
The Red Sox’s deadline approach can still go in myriad ways. Boston has a handful of impending free agents who’d be in-demand trade targets. They’re reportedly listening to offers on J.D. Martinez, who’d be one of the best hitters available. Nathan Eovaldi would be arguably the top rental starting pitcher on the market. Catcher Christian Vázquez, starters Michael Wacha and Rich Hill, and reliever Matt Strahm have all had decent seasons, although each of Wacha, Hill and Strahm is currently on the injured list.
Should Bloom and his staff look to add to the roster, the bullpen stands out as an obvious possible target. Wacha and Hill aren’t far off returning, but the recent Chris Sale injury could lead the team to look into rotation upgrades. First base and right field, meanwhile, have each been problem areas all season. Adding a corner bat or two to bolster the lineup depth would be a sensible goal. The Sox haven’t tipped their hand much about the direction they plan to take, but in either event, it appears the fanbase can count on Bogaerts remaining at shortstop for the final few months of the season.