Earlier this morning, it was announced that star shortstop Xander Bogaerts had opted out of his contract with the Red Sox. Bogaerts will officially become a free agent for the first time in his career. After a stellar couple of years, Bogaerts will surely receive a massive contract.
While the Brewers don’t need a shortstop, a certain divisional rival will likely be a primary landing spot. The young infielder is projected to earn upwards of $25 million annually in free agency.
The Year of the Shortstop
Each year in free agency there is a story that captivates the MLB fans and journalists. This off-season will surely be headlined by the massive amount of talent available at shortstop specifically. Carlos Correa, Trea Turner, Dansby Swanson, Xander Bogaerts, and Jose Iglesias are expected to make over $126 million in 2023 alone.
The Brewers have a home run Infinity Gauntlet? pic.twitter.com/g2zWjPScTv
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) June 23, 2022
The Brewers already have their shortstop for the near future. As well as a prospect to go along with him. Willy Adames and Brice Turang both had dominant seasons and displayed their future ability. With no indication of any shortstop moving positions, the Brewers will be busy elsewhere while the market unfolds.
A Familiar Foe Retooling Against the Brewers?
There is no doubt that one of the reasons Xander Bogaerts opted out is to pursue his full financial potential. The Red Sox are a great franchise, but Bogaerts would have to take a pay-cut to stay. Bogaerts waited until the deadline to make his decision and his intentions are still unknown. Currently, it seems unlikely the shortstop would go back to the Red Sox.
It is still too early to fully tell what each team’s off-season intentions are. However, the Cardinals are a team that fell apart at the end of last year. Harrison Bader went on to mash home runs for the Yankees while the team was back home. A season with much hope ended rather abruptly against the Phillies, and now the Cardinals may beef up to contend.
At the trade deadline, the Red Sox chose to not trade Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts. Many teams were still calling however, and the Cardinals were mentioned multiple times. It is difficult to judge whether or not the Cardinals were seriously implicated. However, with the struggles of Paul DeJong, Tommy Edman, and Edmundo Sosa have hurt the team over the last few years. With Sosa already gone, DeJong and Edman will likely follow in the near future.
Age Catching Up to the Cardinals
The Cardinals are looking to plug their last hole and make a run against the Brewers for the division. Realistically, the 35-year old veterans Miles Mikolas and Paul Goldschmidt are entering their final few years. Unlike most veterans their age, each player managed to play arguably their best season in 2022. Nolan Arenado is coming off his tenth straight Gold Glove at third base and Nolan Gorman proved to be a solid player in his partial season.
— VHS (@VanHicklestein) August 13, 2022
A team as old as the Cardinals shouldn’t be able to generate the offense they have. With the market in front of them the way it is, the Cardinals will surely throw money at the shortstop position. Making multiple offers to different shortstops isn’t out of the question, but Bogaerts has appeared to be their guy based on his fit. Adding another .307 hitter is sure to generate more runs. Bogaerts had limited runs and runs batted in last year mainly because of the struggles of the Red Sox. An infield consisting of Goldschmidt, Gorman, Bogaerts, and Arenado could pose a serious threat to the Brewers.
How Can the Brewers Respond?
Clearly nothing has happened yet and nearly every rumor is speculation. Bogaerts will likely try to join a team who can handle his contract and win games. This already narrows down the teams who can seriously approach Bogaerts. Scott Boras always receives full value for his clients, and if the Red Sox were going to pay up it should’ve happened by now.
As mentioned before, the Brewers will sit and watch while the shortstop market unfolds. There are plenty of teams in the mix for Correa, Turner, and Swanson as well. Given the sudden splash addition of Seiya Suzuki from the NPB last year, the Cubs could also be in the mix for a top-level shortstop. The Cubs front office has made some odd moves, but taking advantage of the market this year could benefit them. The position may look much different across the division next year.
The Brewers only real option is to further address the bullpen and pitching issues. Contracts are excellent incentives to motivate players to perform, and perhaps the Brewers will lock up a pitcher in-house for years to come. Adding a solid reliever like Daniel Bard, Kenley Jansen, and re-signing Taylor Rogers could help bolster the Brewers against the potential barrage of incoming offense. The Brewers could also look to bolster their defense by adding a top-level defender to the team to save runs.