On the same day the New York Yankees re-signed Aaron Judge to the biggest contract in franchise history, the Boston Red Sox opted to move on from another member of their 2018 World Series-winning core.
Coming off of an All-Star season in which he slashed a .307/.377/.456 line, Xander Bogaerts inked an 11-year, $280 million contract with the San Diego Padres. The Red Sox reportedly
offered Bogaerts a six-year, $160 million deal and wouldn’t go any higher.
This is the second time in three winters that the Sox have opted not to pay a star player that they developed internally. A couple of years ago, they traded Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a package of futures and to help dump David Price’s contract. The Dodgers, of course, won the World Series in Betts’ first season with the team.
The perplexing part of this whole thing is that the Red Sox were willing to dish out a five-year deal worth $90 million to Masataka Yoshida, a 29-year-old corner outfielder coming overseas from Japan, and they ponied up $50 million over two years to a pair of relievers in their mid-30s, Kenley Jansen and Chris Martin.
It isn’t the first time they’ve opted to pay new players rather than paying their current players and it probably won’t be the last. Next up, Rafael Devers is set to become a free agent for the first time in his career next winter. Given the pattern, it’s difficult to imagine he’ll be sticking around.
Speaking of that, how are extension talks with Vladdy Jr., Bo Bichette, and Alek Manoah going? *crickets*
Flipping to the other side of this signing, it’s interesting to see Bogaerts wind up with the Padres. Is this addition meant to mitigate the possible loss of Manny Machado, who can opt-out of his contract after the 2023 season? Or might they be interested in moving on from Fernando Tatis Jr., who missed the entire 2022 season and got busted for using PEDs and underwent shoulder surgery in August?
Regardless, this whole situation looks like a win from a Toronto perspective, as a good player is leaving a division rival for the National League. That said, it’s unfortunate that the Red Sox losing somebody in free agency is pretty much the only good Blue Jays-related-ish news out there, as the team stood completely pat during the Winter Meetings.
Assistant general manager Joe Sheehan talked about the Blue Jays’ lack of transactions on Wednesday afternoon, saying that the front office is comfortable waiting until later in the off-season to make their moves…
It’s true that the Blue Jays have done a lot of lifting later in the off-season, as the Hyun Jin Ryu contract came out of nowhere in late December of 2019, the George Springer and Marcus Semien additions came in January of 2021, and the Matt Chapman trade came back in March of 2022 after MLB’s lockout came to an end.
But it’s also worthwhile to note the differing contexts of each off-season, as there are more teams engaged in improving this winter than in previous ones. The sentiment about the Blue Jays lurking around in the weeds waiting to make their move isn’t so much a problem, it’s more the fact that many reports indicate that they don’t seem to be anywhere near the big names on the market…
Now, this point from Gregor Chisholm is about starting pitching specifically, and it could mean that the Blue Jays are willing to back up a truck for Brandon Nimmo but they don’t want to do so for an arm like Carlos Rodon, and they’d instead rather look for a younger starting pitcher with control through the trade market.
Speaking of that, Jon Morosi said on Thursday morning that the Blue Jays “love” Nimmo and that they’re one of the teams in the mix to sign him, along with the New York Mets, SF Giants, and Seattle Mariners…
There’s still plenty of off-season left and this front office probably deserves the benefit of the doubt given the major additions they’ve made in previous years but it’s valid to feel a little bit of anxiety given the Winter Meetings have come and gone and Toronto’s biggest move thus far has been dumping a lovable slugger for a relief pitcher.
It could just be recency bias from an unexciting week but this winter’s approach has a more small-market feel than the ‘The Blue Jays Are In On This Guy And This Guy And This Guy’ approach we saw last year and the year before that. We’ll see what happens.