Xander Bogaerts on long-term deals and following the footsteps of David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia as long-term Red Sox
|03.24.14 at 8:27 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — In a way, the idea is preposterous. As good as Xander Bogaerts was in helping the Red Sox to win a World Series, as highly regarded a prospect as he is, it seems absurdly premature to contemplate much beyond the idea that the 21-year-old is poised to become the Red Sox‘ youngest Opening Day position player since Dwight Evans in 1973, and their youngest Opening Day shortstop since Everett Scott in 1914.
Yet in another way, the idea is not so ridiculous. The Astros reportedly offered prospect George Springer a seven-year, $23 million deal last September — before he played in the big leagues. Evan Longoria signed a six-year, $17.5 million deal (with options that pushed it to nine years and $44 million) in his first days in the big leagues.
And so, at a time when the Red Sox have signed Dustin Pedroia to a deal that should keep him in Boston through 2021 while retaining David Ortiz on a contract that is expected to cover the remainder of his career, Bogaerts was asked, has he considered the possibility of a long-term deal with the Red Sox?
“That’s definitely not a decision I make. That’s front office and those guys. I just go out there, play and really try to focus on the game,” Bogaerts said on Monday morning. “But now, especially now, with all these young guys, you hear a lot of rumors about extensions. Being one of the young guys, you never know if there’s a possibility for that, but I’m always just focusing on the game, trying to get better and help the team win a World Series. When you help the team win, there’s a lot of good stuff that can happen to you. … I’ve never talked to anyone about that, but it’s definitely a possibility with the way the game is changing now and a lot of long-term deals. Time will tell, you know?”
GM Ben Cherington said in late-2013 that the Sox tend to wait until a player has an established big league track record before exploring a long-term deal with them. Given that approach by the team, Bogaerts for now seems unlikely to be a candidate for a multi-year guarantee that would run through his six pre-free agent seasons (and beyond). But if his minor league track record does indeed translate to the big leagues, then there undoubtedly will come a time when the Sox would visit the topic with their shortstop.
While Bogaerts has spent little time thinking about the particulars of a long-term deal, his interest in remaining with the Red Sox for the long haul is beyond question, as is his excitement to represent the organization that signed him as a 16-year-old in 2009.
“[Wearing a Red Sox uniform is] special. The Red Sox are the only team and the only organization I’ve known my few years playing baseball. For me, it means a lot to be alongside guys I’ve always admired (like) Pedroia,” said Bogaerts. “When I signed, I had a Dustin Pedroia number 15 on the back the day I signed. And my brother had on Ortiz number 34. So playing alongside them now, you wouldn’t even imagine what that feeling is. It’s crazy. I would have never imagined that.”
Though free agency lies on an almost unimaginably distant horizon given that his big league career is still in its infancy, Bogaerts loves the idea of emerging as the type of player who could come to represent the Sox for the long haul in the same fashion as Pedroia and Ortiz. He characterized the idea of being a single-franchise player as “something that most everyone wants. It’s definitely an honor if you can stay with one team your whole career. It’s not easy and not a lot of guys did it, but it’s been done before. If you be an example, be a leader, be someone a lot of guys look up to and play the game the right way, there’s a lot of things that can happen.”
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