The Boston Red Sox have been under pressure to extend Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers, and they’re now Silver Slugger finalists.
The Boston Red Sox have several reasons to extend Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers. Both players have helped the team win at least one World Series and through a season of disappointment, they’ve both been reliable players that helped with any success Boston has scraped together in 2022.
Both had extremely good seasons at bat, and because of that, they’ve been named Silver Slugger finalists. They’re the only players in Boston listed as finalists, so that alone should be enough to encourage talks of extensions.
There have reportedly been talks of extending Devers.
However, there hasn’t been any mention of Bogaerts’ fate with the Red Sox quite yet. His extension should’ve happened way before now, and he continues to strengthen his case as to why he’s needed on the team. The Red Sox finished last in the AL East as the only team below .500, and without Bogaerts and Devers, they likely would’ve done a lot worse.
This isn’t the only reason to pay him, though. It’s one of many on a growing list.
There were several reasons to extend Xander Bogaerts before he became a Silver Slugger finalist
Bogaerts was one of the best shortstops in the league this season. Among all shortstops that have consistently started during the regular season, he had the best batting average (.307) and on-base percentage (.377). He had the fifth-best slugging percentage (.456) and fourth-best WAR (6.1).
He already has four Silver Sluggers, and he’s the fifth shortstop in MLB history to earn four, joining Barry Larkin, Cal Ripkin Jr., Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter.
He’s also been with the Red Sox since 2013 and has managed to maintain a career average of .292/.356/.458 for an OPS of .814. Though players typically naturally decrease in talent over an extended period of time, that’s not the case with Bogaerts. He led the team in hits (171), walks (57), batting average and OBP. He tied for most runs with Devers (84) and fell second to Devers in slugging percentage and OPS.
Apparently, that wasn’t strong enough reasoning to extend him, so the league gave the Red Sox a few more. He went on to become named Boston’s offensive MVP in 2022 and became an AL Gold Glove award finalist. He’s the full package and hasn’t shown a single sign of slowing down.
He’s been so impactful that even David Ortiz, who is essentially still the face of the franchise after rebuilding the team in the early 2000s, spoke out about how Bogaerts and Devers are needed on the team.
Ortiz told Ian Browne of MLB.com back in July:
“I played with a lot of superstars and they’ve been great somewhere else and when they got to Boston, they struggled because they couldn’t put up with what is going on out there. These two guys, they grew up there. You know what to expect from them. You know what they’re going to give you. That’s why sometimes I don’t understand why organizations sometimes walk away from that. They prefer to explore other options. I would go with what I know. I’d keep it simple.”
In a time of roster reconstruction, the main question remains: why wouldn’t Boston run full force to extend someone who is significantly holding the team together?
The answer to that question remains unclear, but it’s a mistake the Red Sox continuously make.
The Red Sox have an unfortunate history of trading away their homegrown talent
The Red Sox don’t like to pay their homegrown talent when it’s time to. The issue goes back as far as Smoky Joe Wood of the early 20th-century team. Wood joined the team in 1908 and was a great two-way player. His contract was sold to Cleveland, marking the first of many incidents where Boston traded away players they should have kept.
They did the same with Harry Hooper and Reggie Smith, but that wouldn’t have made a difference in the 2022 team. However, several players have been let go recently that are still actively playing and helping opposing teams.
One of the best examples of a modern player is Mookie Betts. Betts is a great hitter and started his career with Boston in 2014, roughly when Bogaerts started his. He’s slashed .293/.368/.520 for an OPS of .888 over his career.
He and Bogaerts have many similarities. Betts still had a lot of talent in him when he left Boston. 2019 was his last season before joining the Los Angeles Dodgers, and during his last two seasons, he earned two AL Gold Gloves, two Silver Sluggers, an MVP and a Defensive Player of the Year award, to name a few.
Bogaerts, in what’s looking to be his last season with the Red Sox, is still having a huge impact on the league overall. There are so many reasons right in front of Boston to extend him, but despite having one of the largest payrolls in the league, they’re seemingly just not willing to pay him.
Though they’ve started talks with Devers, there’s no promise that he’ll stay without Bogaerts. The two have a bond and one left out of an extension could cause the other to walk away too. As if the roster without Bogaerts wouldn’t be bad enough, they may face one without Devers as well.
Now with the two being Silver Slugger finalists, how many more reasons does Boston need? Hopefully not many more. Extending their best players would go a long way in bringing the team success again.