By Peter Marks
All-Star shortstop Xander Bogaerts has opted out of the final three years of his six-year, $120-million deal with the Red Sox, and will become a free agent.
Bogaerts slashed .307/.377/.456 with an .833 OPS, and was in the running for the American League batting title, ranking third in batting average behind just Twins’ Luis Arraez (.316) and Yankees’ Aaron Judge (.311).
He was named an All-Star for the fourth time in 2022, and was an AL Gold Glove finalist at shortstop for the first time in his decorated career.
He enters free agency with the most franchise starts (1,179) and games played (1,192) at shortstop by a Red Sox. He joined Alex Rodriguez as the only shortstops with 150-plus homers and 300-plus doubles before turning 30. Bogaerts also is just the fourth Sox player to record his 1,400th hit prior to turning 30. The other three, Carl Yastrzemski, Bobby Doerr, and Jim Rice, are all in the Hall of Fame.
Despite Bogaerts’s leap into free agency, the shortstop made it clear throughout the 2022 season that he would like to return to Boston, and hopes the two sides can come to some sort of agreement.
When asked at the end of the year if he thought it would be his last time in a Red Sox uniform, Bogaerts said he hoped not.
“This is is all I know,” he said. “I’m very very thankful for everyone that has helped me be the player I am today. The Red Sox, obviously, for allowing me to make my big league debut, giving me my extension. Arbitration years.
“They have blessed me and my family in that aspect and also blessed me with really good teammates. But this is the business part of it, and I have never been in this situation before, so we’ll see what happens.”
At the team’s end-of-year press conference, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said:
“Our position has been the same. We want to keep him here for a long time. We want him here on a deal that we can look back and say this is great for everyone. We just got to the end of one of those in J.D. Martinez. I think everybody can say that deal worked out for everybody involved. We want to build around him and win with him.”