Despite missing the playoffs with a 77-84 record a year after the Boston Red Sox reached the ALCS, Xander Bogaerts has remained consistent as one of the best hitting shortstops in the league. A dip to his power production numbers notwithstanding, he has posted arguably his best all-around season in 2022, after an impressive improvement to his defensive metrics.

But the next game Bogaerts plays for the franchise might also be the last time he steps foot in Fenway Park as a member of the home team, as he's set to enter free agency for the first time in his career.

If this is indeed Xander Bogaerts' swan song with the Red Sox, then the shortstop is well-justified in feeling proud of the person he has become during his 10-year run in Boston. Bogaerts spoke with Chris Cotillo of Mass Live and reflected on just how valuable the experiences he's gained have been to his journey from a fearful 21-year old to a grizzled 30-year old veteran.

“I remember coming here as a little kid and was afraid of being on the field in the postseason. I remember. I just always wanted to be on the bench and watch the game. I hit that double in Detroit and (Mike) Napoli’s like, ‘You’re gonna play the next day.’ I’m like, ‘Bro, I don’t want to play the next day.’ Then (manager) John (Farrell) told me, ‘Hey, come here kid.’ I’m like, ‘(expletive),” Bogaerts recalled.

“I’ve came a long way from not wanting to be in the lineup to wanting to be in the lineup and helping the team. […] I’m proud of the man I’ve become.”
It wasn't obvious that Xander Bogaerts was afraid of the moment back in their 2013 World Series title run, after he hit an impressive .296/.412/.481 in 34 plate appearances. Five years later, he was the everyday starter at short during their World Series triumph over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Bogaerts has undoubtedly been a pillar for the franchise in the past decade, and his absence, should he decide to move on from the Red Sox, will be sorely felt throughout the organization. But amid a rough 2022 season, a change of scenery just might be what he needs.
“This year has been extremely tough for me personally,” Bogaerts added. “I’ve said it multiple times, we haven’t won much games this year so that definitely didn’t help. […] I feel like if we were winning, it would have been much easier for me. That’s not the case.”