Once in a blue moon, an eternally-blessed franchise like the Boston Red Sox has a chance to opt into historic stupidity, shirking a home-grown superstar before turning the fan base against him with a smear campaign intended to force diehards to side with ownership.
Based on the latest Xander Bogaerts rumblings, it looks like Boston might have a second shot in three years to accomplish this once-in-a-generation bumble!
First, it was Mookie Betts, who desperately wanted to explore free agency before the Dodgers paid him the life-changing money he’d earned/allowed him to set a precedent for future young outfielders hitting the market. Boston traded him, then worked hard to convince their fans that he never really wanted to be there anyway.
And now, less than three years later, the Sox seem to be stringing both Xander Bogaerts (free agent) and Rafael Devers (one more season of control) along.
Despite Sox front office bluster a few weeks back that Bogaerts was their Plan A, B, C, D, E and F this offseason, conflicting reports emerged on Wednesday indicating that the shortstop may be drifting away — potentially ever since Boston submitted a lowball offer prior to the 2022 season.
The extremely connected Peter Gammons sent shockwaves through the North End Wednesday morning when he claimed Bogaerts would not be returning to Boston after severing all ties with the team.
Yankees Rumors: Xander Bogaerts is Aaron Judge alternative? Bogaerts ‘severed ties’ with Red Sox?
Later in the afternoon, Bogaerts’ agent Scott Boras tried to nix Gammons’ update, claiming no doors were closed to anybody. That’s how you save leverage right there. Boston’s still in it, guys! Look, they’re right outside my door! (bangs on door) That was them, they’re banging now.
No matter how talks close, it’s clear that the Sox have less of a reason to be optimistic now than they did when they were still in their exclusive negotiating period. The Bogaerts buzz comes shortly after Jose Abreu signed with the Astros; according to Jon Heyman, the slugging DH was Boston’s top priority this offseason, and he skittered elsewhere rather quickly.
With Bogaerts’ apparent dissatisfaction has come a corresponding increase in Yankees rumors. Surely, this is another Boras tactic (as, probably, is Bogaerts following the Padres on Instagram midway through the rumor mill), but that hasn’t made Buster Olney calling the shortstop a “Yankees top target” in a “pull in case of emergency” kind of way any less exciting.
Only question: Why does signing Bogaerts have to be an Aaron Judge pivot? Why can’t it just be an Aaron Judge supplement?
Bogaerts’ future at shortstop is uncertain, but he’s coming off the best defensive season of his career. You want to stop that gap with someone more talented than Isiah Kiner-Falefa, as well as insert a perfect top-two hitter as Judge’s running mate? This long-time Yankee tormentor might be the most fun and effective solution to New York’s infield puzzle.
Just hope and pray Brian Cashman doesn’t sever ties with Judge before he’s able to figure it all out.