David Ortiz: 'It Would Be Stupid' for Red Sox to Let Xander Bogaerts Leave as FA

Erin WalshMay 23, 2022

BOSTON, MA - MAY 18: Xander Bogaerts #2 of the Boston Red Sox waves to the crowd after this home run against the Houston Astros during the first inning at Fenway Park on May 18, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images

Xander Bogaerts and the Boston Red Sox were unable to work out a contract extension before the 2022 season began, and he can opt out of his contract to enter free agency following the conclusion of the campaign.

With it being possible Boston lets Bogaerts walk in free agency, Red Sox legend David Ortiz has chimed in on the star shortstop's contract situation with the franchise. 

"It would be stupid to let a guy like that go, to be honest with you," Ortiz said, according to Chris Cotillo of MassLive. "I played with Bogey for a long time and Bogaerts is the perfect player for any organization. He will represent this organization on and off the field. So that conversation needs to take place at any time."

A friend of Bogaerts told Jon Heyman of the New York Post that "he's going to leave" after the 2022 season. The 29-year-old is set to decline his $20 million player option for the 2023 campaign in pursuit of a more lucrative contract.

Before the 2022 season began, Bogaerts declined a one-year extension with the Red Sox that reportedly would have paid him $30 million in 2026. Another friend of Bogaerts called the deal "a slap in the face," per Heyman.

When Bogaerts hits free agency, he'll be looking for a deal that pays him similarly to Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor and Corey Seager, according to ESPN's Joon Lee. All three players make more than $30 million per year. 

Bogaerts has certainly played like he's deserving of a contract that hefty. He's slashing .325/.385/.457 with four home runs and 17 RBI in 40 games.

Bogaerts has been a staple in Boston's lineup since 2014, helping the franchise win two World Series titles. He has also won four Silver Slugger awards and was named to the All-Star Game three times in his Red Sox tenure. 

However, it's not hard to see why the Red Sox might be unwilling to pay him like some of the other elite shortstops in the league. They signed former Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story to a six-year, $140 million deal before the 2022 season began, and Story could easily fill in for Bogaerts if he were to exit in free agency.

Story is currently playing second base but is a natural shortstop, having played the position in Colorado. 

In addition, the Red Sox need to give third baseman Rafael Devers a long-term contract (currently under club control through 2023) and add some pitching depth, so money could be tight heading into the 2023 campaign.