The San Diego Padres have landed one of the best shortstops in Major League Baseball after agreeing to a deal with Xander Bogaerts.
Per Jeff Passan of ESPN, Bogaerts signed an 11-year, $280 million contract with the Padres, adding another superstar to their already loaded infield in the process.
The Red Sox added to their crowded middle infield last offseason by signing Trevor Story to a six-year contract. He shifted to second base because of Bogaerts, but this move allows to back to shortstop.
Story has been a disappointment so far in Boston. The two-time All-Star posted a career-low .737 OPS in an injury-plagued 2022 campaign that was limited to 94 games.
Bogaerts has been terrific at the plate over the previous five seasons for Boston. He posted a career-high .883 OPS in 2018 only to exceed that mark with a .939 OPS the following year. He also recorded new career bests in home runs (33) and doubles (52) in 2019.
The 2020 season wasn't quite up to those standards, but he hit .300/.364/.502 with 11 homers in 56 games. He was one of the few bright spots for a Red Sox team that finished last in the AL East with a 24-36 record.
Things went much better for Boston in 2021, finishing with a 92-70 record. Bogaerts was one of the key anchors for the offense with an .863 OPS and 23 homers in 144 games. He hit .307/.377/.456 with 15 homers in 150 games during the 2022 campaign.
The Red Sox signed him to a six-year, $120 million contract extension in April 2019 that included an opt out after 2022.
Bogaerts' struggles in the field—his minus-26 defensive runs saved from 2018-22 ranks last out of 19 qualified shortstops, according to FanGraphs—do open up the strong possibility that he might have to move off the position soon.
Bogaerts joins an infield that is as star-filled as any in baseball; third baseman Manny Machado and shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. remain elite hitters and fielders, although there are plenty of question marks about how Tatis will fare after an injury-plagued 2022 campaign and after his 80-game suspension for violating MLB's performance-enhancing drug policy. On top of that, shortstop Ha-Seong Kim emerged as one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball, creating a potential logjam on the left side of the infield.
However, with another big name joining the fold, it's hard to think the Padres won't figure things out heading into the season and will enter 2023 as early favorites to make a deep playoff run.