Guessing Bogaerts' Value, One Month Before Free Agency Edition
One thing you can’t forget about Xander Bogaerts is that he signed away his age 27-29 free agent seasons for $60M total. That looks horrific in light of the new shortstop contracts, but he can’t get those prime seasons back, and it’s not something the Red Sox need to take into consideration moving forward, no favors are owed either way. It’s not a coincidence that Scott Boras had an opt-out after this season put into the contract. Bogaerts turns 30 years old on October 1st and that’s his negotiating position.
Bogaerts is having one of his best offensive seasons, with limited power, and his defense has graded well. How teams ultimately assign values to his strong season, slowly slipping underlying metrics, and out of the blue good defensive season, is going to vary and determine which city he’s finishing his career in.
Trevor Story and Javier Baez signed for $23M AAV through their age 34 seasons. If Bogaerts were to sign that contract, the equivalent would be 5 years, $115M. Does that seem incredibly light? Yes. However, this past spring training the Red Sox reportedly offered Bogaerts 4 years, $90M. Jon Heyman reported that “a friend of Bogaerts” called the offer “a slap in the face.” Before this season started, it seems clear that this is the level the Red Sox organization valued Bogaerts at.
Marcus Semien signed for $25M AAV through his age 37 season. If Bogaerts were to sign that contract, the equivalent would be 8 years, $200M. I find it almost unimaginable that the Red Sox would offer this length of contract to Bogaerts, however, I think this is probably what he is targeting, and he needs just one team to find it fair.
Francisco Lindor and Corey Seager signed for $32M AAV through their age 37 seasons. If Bogaerts were to sign that contract, the equivalent would be 8 years, $256M. These are the top of the market contracts in AAV and length. This would be Boras’ greatest accomplishment to date.
If there is a deal to be made, there will have to be plenty of movement on both sides to finalize something. Bogaerts wanted his last deal to get done, and it did, but will that happen again? Boras has said, “Xander is a different player and person than he was when he signed this contract.”
The following are a couple of guesses at middle of the road compromise options.
If Bogaerts want to hit a magic $30M AAV number, you’d think the Red Sox would only consider that at a very short term level, such as 5/$150M. If he’d rather an AAV north of Semien and term longer than Story and Baez, maybe the 6/$165M is more palatable.
We are very close to brass tacks time, after a bad team season, would the Red Sox jump to one of these levels of commitment after their initial 4/$90M offer? Or does their valuation stay the same, in which case they will surely be reinvesting that $25-30M in other players.
Carlos Correa is so young, and his first free agent contract so unique (3/$105M, and a nearly certain opt-out after this first season), I thought it best to stick with the others as comparison cases.