It's no secret the Philadelphia Phillies could use an upgrade at shortstop, and it appears they have their sights set on one of the top players set to be on the market this winter.
If Xander Bogaerts declines the player option on his contract with the Boston Red Sox for the 2023 season, the Phillies "will be eager suitors" for the veteran, according to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.
Bogaerts is expected to decline his $20 million player option for 2023 in pursuit of a larger deal. If he were to opt in, he would be under contract with the Red Sox through the 2026 campaign at $20 million per year.
After the deals the Minnesota Twins' Carlos Correa ($35.1 million annually), New York Mets' Francisco Lindor ($34.1 million annually) and Texas Rangers' Corey Seager ($33 million annually) cashed in over the last year or so, it's no surprise Bogaerts is in pursuit of a more lucrative deal.
The Red Sox offered Bogaerts a one-year extension during spring training that would have locked him into a new four-year, $90 million contract. However, a friend of the star shortstop called the offer a "slap in the face," per Jon Heyman of the New York Post.
Boston has not approached Bogaerts with any other offers since the 2022 season began. The 29-year-old said in April that he would not negotiate during the season because he didn't want to impact the team "with that kind of distraction," per ESPN's Joon Lee.
"They don't deserve it," Bogaerts said. "We had time to get something done. It didn't work out."
The Phillies' interest in Bogaerts makes sense based on his relationship with president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, who served in the same role with the Red Sox from 2015-19.
Bogaerts made his Red Sox debut in 2013 and has gone on to earn four All-Star selections, four Silver Slugger awards and two World Series titles.
Despite Boston's struggles this season, the Aruba native is amid a respectable campaign, hitting .318/.384/.473 with 13 home runs, 65 RBI and eight stolen bases in 131 games.
Bogaerts best season in Boston came in 2019 when he hit .309/.384/.555 with 33 home runs, 117 RBI and four stolen bases in 155 games. He earned an All-Star selection, Silver Slugger award and finished fifth in American League MVP voting that year.
The 10-year veteran would be a nice upgrade for the Phillies, who have relied on rookie Bryson Stott this year, at shortstop. And, considering the team is currently fighting for a playoff spot, adding Bogaerts next year could vault the team into solid postseason positioning.
If Bogaerts signs with the Phillies or elsewhere in 2023, the Red Sox will likely shift Trevor Story back to shortstop. Story signed a six-year, $140 million deal with the Red Sox in March and spent the majority of the year playing second base.