Boston Red Sox fans are heartbroken once again with the news that Xander Bogaerts is leaving the team after signing an 11-year, $280 million free-agent deal with the San Diego Padres.
While diehard Red Sox fans held out hope that the team would bring back their All-Star shortstop, it was not a surprise that Bogaert decided to leave the organization. The Red Sox traded dynamic pitcher Jon Lester in 2014 when he was preparing to be a free agent in the following offseason and they did the same with superstar outfielder Mookie Betts after the 2019 season.
The New York Yankees, Boston’s long-time rivals, managed to bring back record-setting outfielder Aaron Judge. However, the Red Sox were not inclined to do the same with Bogaerts. General manager Chaim Bloom was in a state of shock after the announcement of the deal with San Diego was announced, but that’s cold comfort to long-time Boston supporters.
Now the team must find a replacement for Xander Bogaerts. There are options available, but it seems unlikely that Boston will spend the money on another big-name shortstop to replace their long-time star.
Best Choice: Carlos Correa
Correa would be an excellent option for any team that wants to sign him, and it’s clear that he would be a great fit for the Red Sox. Correa played seven seasons for the Houston Astros before signing a 1-year deal with the Minnesota Twins last year.
The 28-year-old Correa has been a two-time All-Star, and he has a career slash line of .279/.357/.467 with 155 career home runs and 553 RBI. Correa has belted 20 or more home runs 6 times in his career, and his best season came in 2017.
Correa slashed .315/.391/.550 with 24 home runs and 84 RBI that year. In addition to his offensive skills, Correa has excellent range at the position, with a powerful arm. He is considered a better defensive option than Bogaerts.
Correa is almost certainly expecting a contract in the 10-year, $300 million range. That’s one of the reasons it seems unlikely that he will be wearing a Red Sox uniform next season.
No. 2 Choice: Dansby Swanson
The 28-year-old Swanson has shown dramatic improvement the last two seasons. He was solid before 2021, but he increased his production notably.
Swanson was a huge part of the Atlanta Braves run to the World Series title in 2021 as he slashed .248/.311/449 while belting 27 home runs and knocking in 88 runs. He played in 160 regular season games that season, and he played in all 162 games in 2022.
Swanson slashed .277/.329/.447 last year while hammering 25 home runs and driving in a career-high 96 runs.
One of the big negatives for Swanson is his tendency to strike out. While his production increased the past 2 years, he struck out 167 times in 2021 and 182 times last year.
Swanson was the National League Gold Glove winner at shortstop in 2022.
No. 3 Choice: Trevor Story
This may have been Boston’s plan all along when they signed Trevor Story prior to the start of the 2022 season. Story played 2nd base for the Red Sox last season and he fielded the position in a pristine manner when he was healthy.
Story was limited to 94 games last season, and he was hot-and-cold at the plate for the Red Sox. He hit 16 home runs and knocked in 66 runs while stealing 13 bases without getting caught.
Prior to playing 2nd base for Boston, Story played 6 seasons of shortstop for the Colorado Rockies. He has been a consistent power hitter for the majority of his career, with 5 season of 20 or more home runs and 2 with 35 or more. If he can stay healthy, he could possibly reach 30 again since the Fenway Park dimensions are ideal for him.
No matter how the Red Sox resolve the shortstop situation, the loss of Xander Bogaerts may be impossible to overcome. In addition to his consistent production, he has been a clubhouse leader for the organization, and his absence creates a major void.
The Red Sox were a last-place team in the American League East last season, and it may be difficult to overcome that status in the foreseeable future.