The 2022 Winter Meetings came to a close on Wednesday, but not before the San Diego Padres got one more massive deal in right before the buzzer. As folks were beginning to head home from San Diego, which is where the Winter Meetings were being held, star shortstop Xander Bogaerts decided that he wanted to stay a little bit longer, and ended up signing a massive 11-year, $280 million deal with the Padres.
The Padres were known to be looking to add another big bat to their lineup this offseason, and after striking out on Trea Turner and Aaron Judge, San Diego turned their attention to Bogaerts and blew him away. Bogaerts had been in discussions with his longtime club in the Boston Red Sox throughout the day on Wednesday, but he quickly changed directions when the Padres entered the fray.
This is a huge deal for Bogaerts and the Padres, and they look like one of the most dangerous teams in the league by adding him to their lineup. But is this deal an overpay? And what does Bogaerts fit in the infield look like? Let’s review all that and more as we hand out our grade for this crazy deal from San Diego.
Grading the Padres signing of Xander Bogaerts
Over his ten season stint with the Red Sox, Bogaerts went from supremely hyped prospect to the heart and soul of Boston’s lineup. Bogaerts found his way to the majors in 2013 and ended up playing a role in the Red Sox winning the World Series that year despite only having taken 44 at-bats in the regular season. Five years later, Bogaerts was again front and center of another World Series team in Boston in 2018.
Over that time, Bogaerts has become one of the best pure hitters in the game. Bogaerts career average of .292 is extremely impressive in the modern day MLB, and he’s proven his worth time and again throughout his career, earning four All-Star selections and five Silver Slugger awards. Bogaerts has finished no lower than 17th in the American League MVP race over the past five seasons either, highlighting his consistency and overall high level of play.
It was surprising to see the Red Sox front office have such an indifference towards extending or re-signing Bogaerts, and sure enough, the Padres made them pay. Boston was reportedly offering Bogaerts a shorter six-year deal worth $160 million, and while that would result in a higher per year value, Bogaerts is going to be making over $25 million when he’s 41 years old with San Diego.
Off the bat, it’s hard to argue that this deal isn’t an overpay for Bogaerts. He’s already 30 years old, meaning that he will be 41 by the time it’s over. There’s no opt outs in this deal and a full no-trade clause, meaning that Bogaerts is staying put in San Diego for quite some time, for better or worse.
$280 million over 11 years pays Bogaerts around $25.45 million per year. The exact details of the deal aren’t known yet, and while that’s not a crazy per year value, it’s worth noting that the Padres got a far better deal with their current franchise shortstop in Fernando Tatis Jr. when they handed him a 14-year, $340 million deal. And Tatis is still 23; again, Bogaerts is already 30.
Bogaerts also isn’t a totally smooth fit into the infield for the Padres, as it will likely result in Tatis getting moved to the outfield, which probably won’t make him too happy. Tatis isn’t a good fielder, and while Bogaerts made some big strides in the field in 2022, he’s always graded out as a below average defender throughout his career.
Bogaerts has the potential to age well since he’s a contact first hitter, but his power numbers already may be regressing right in front of our eyes. There will be no problem if Xander Bogaerts can continue hitting .300 with around 15-20 home runs, but he only hit 15 homers last season; if those numbers keep slipping, that’s going to be a problem for San Diego.
Final Grade: C-
It’s clear that, in the short-term, the addition of Bogaerts makes the Padres extremely dangerous. But they have added a ton of pressure on themselves as an organization. It’s World Series or bust at this point; if they don’t win with Bogaerts, they will have essentially flushed $280 million down the drain.
It’s tough to view this deal as anything other than an overpay in the long run, unfortunately. Trea Turner only made $20 million more on his deal with the Philadelphia Philles than Bogaerts did despite the fact he’s a year younger and has a higher ceiling, and if you spread that out over 11 years, that doesn’t even amount to $2 million a year. Looking at other shortstop contracts across the league, Bogaerts really had no choice but to accept this offer from San Diego.
If the Padres win a World Series with Bogaerts, this deal will be worth it. But they cannot rely on Xander Bogaerts for consistent production late into his 30s and early 40s, and there’s a decent chance he doesn’t even make it through half of this deal before hitting a wall. This is a huge risk for San Diego, and they will need a lot to go right for them in order for it to go down in the books as a win for them.