Red Sox Rumors: Xander Bogaerts Considered 'Extremely Important' Part of Rebuild

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistAugust 18, 2020

Boston Red Sox's Xander Bogaerts plays against the Tampa Bay Rays during the ninth inning of a baseball game, Monday, Aug. 10, 2020, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

With the Boston Red Sox currently owning the American League's worst record, the franchise may soon have to shift its attention to shaping its roster for the future—and Xander Bogaerts could continue to be in its long-term plans.

Per The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, the Red Sox believe Bogaerts is "extremely important" to their rebuilding effort.

At the end of last season, Red Sox owner John Henry publicly stated his intention to cut payroll to get under MLB's luxury-tax threshold.

"This year we need to be under the CBT [competitive balance tax], and that was something we've known for more than a year now," Henry told reporters. "If you don't reset there are penalties, so we've known for some time now we needed to reset, as other clubs have done."

Per FanGraphs, Boston decreased its payroll from $242 million in 2019 to $179 million in 2020. The biggest move was trading Mookie Betts and David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Alex VerdugoJeter Downs and Connor Wong.

MLB.com ranked Boston's farm system 25th coming into this season, with Downs and Triston Casas as its only top 100 prospects.

Even though the Red Sox still have the third-highest prorated payroll in MLB—behind the Dodgers and New York Yankees—their .261 winning percentage (6-17) is the worst in the AL so far this season. The offense ranks 19th in OPS (.726), and the pitching staff's 6.06 ERA ranks last in MLB.

Bogaerts signed a six-year, $120 million contract extension with Boston in April 2019. He will earn $20 million every season through 2026, but the deal includes an opt-out after 2022.

A two-time All-Star, Bogaerts finished fifth in AL MVP voting last year with a .309/.384/.555 slash line, 33 home runs and 117 RBI. The 27-year-old is hitting .257/.329/.473 with four homers in 21 games this season.