It appears Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts might not be long for Boston.
A friend of Bogaerts told Jon Heyman of the New York Post that "he's going to leave" after the 2022 season, which would mean he'd decline his $20 million player option.
This news hardly comes as a surprise after Bogaerts declined a one-year extension on his existing deal that would reportedly pay him $30 million in 2026. A friend of Bogaerts called the offer "a slap in the face," according to Heyman.
That said, Bogaerts was always expected to decline his 2023 player option in favor of a new deal.
According to ESPN's Joon Lee, Bogaerts is reportedly seeking a pact that would put him among the league's highest-paid shortstops, such as Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor and Corey Seager, all of whom make more than $30 million per year.
Bogaerts has played like someone who's in a contract year too. The 29-year-old has been one of Boston's best hitters this season, slashing .354/.404/.500 with eight doubles, two home runs and 10 RBI in 25 games.
The native of Aruba has helped the club win two World Series titles and earned three All-Star selections and four Silver Slugger awards. He also finished fifth in American League MVP voting during the 2019 season.
Still, it's not hard to see why the Red Sox front office might not be willing to pay him at least $30 million per year long term. Boston signed Trevor Story to a six-year, $140 million contract ahead of the 2022 campaign, and while he's playing second base, he's a natural shortstop and could easily switch back to the position in 2023.
In addition, the Red Sox need to extend the contract of third baseman and 25-year-old star slugger Rafael Devers, who reportedly wants a deal worth more than $300 million, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan (h/t WEEI's Ken Laird).
Unfortunately for Red Sox fans, both situations are shaping up to be similar to that of what happened with Mookie Betts after the 2019 season. Boston was unwilling to lock up the All-Star right fielder to a lucrative extension, and he ended up signing a 12-year, $365 million extension after a trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers.