By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The Red Sox did not seem particularly interested in extending Xander Bogaerts during the offseason. Couple that with a horrific start to the season, and it was only a matter of time before the trade speculation surrounding the Red Sox’ star shortstop began.
That time has come, with two prominent baseball media members separately mentioning a potential trade of Bogaerts to the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday.
MLB Network’s Jon Morosi said that if Bogaerts becomes available via trade, St. Louis makes tremendous sense as a landing spot.
“We talked earlier this week on this show about Xander Bogaerts and Boston, and what could happen there if they don’t get things going. Bogaerts in a Cardinals uniform would look pretty good, depending on how things play out in the next couple months here,” Morosi said. “I do think if the Red Sox make Bogaerts available, hard to find a better fit right now in the major leagues than the St. Louis Cardinals.”
A Xander Bogaerts trade to the #STLCards could be realistic this summer if the #RedSox continue to struggle, as I discussed with @LaurenShehadi on @MLBNetwork earlier today. @MLB pic.twitter.com/xGZxKjeHKb
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) May 11, 2022
On The Athletic, Jim Bowden laid out five trade scenarios that would make sense this season, with Bogaerts-to-St. Louis being one of them.
“The Red Sox should be doing everything they can to sign Bogaerts to a long-term deal, but it appears they’re doing the opposite. The only proposal they’ve made was not nearly enough, and there was zero chance he’d accept it,” Bowden wrote. “If their position doesn’t significantly change, then it makes sense to seek the best trade for Bogaerts because he will likely opt out of his contract after the season.”
Bowden speculated that the Cardinals could trade prospect Nolan Gorman, a 22-year-old infielder, while the Cardinals would want to extend Bogaerts to something along the lines of an eight-year, $216 million contract.
Bogaerts — despite dealing with the unsatisfactory offer from the Red Sox and the Trevor Story signing in the offseason — has been remarkably consistent this season. He’s hitting .354, the best batting average in the American League, with an .880 OPS.
The Red Sox are off to an 11-19 start to the season, sitting in last place in the AL East — two games behind the lowly Baltimore Orioles. They could, of course, turn things around and climb up the standings to contend for a playoff spot. But if they don’t, Chaim Bloom and the front office will likely seek to sell off players in the final years of their deals prior to the Aug. 2 trade deadline.
Red Sox fans have seen a beloved home-grown talent and world champion dealt away in such fashion before, as the team — under Ben Cherington — traded away Jon Lester at the 2014 deadline, when the Red Sox sat at 48-60 on the season, one year after winning the World Series. Lester would go on to help the Cubs break their own World Series curse in 2016, cementing his place in baseball history. The Red Sox received Yoenis Cespedes in return for Lester, later trading Cespedes for Rick Porcello.
The 2020 Red Sox didn’t wait for a disappointing season before trading away Mookie Betts, sending the superstar outfielder to the Dodgers in February along with David Price in exchange for Alex Verdugo, Jeter Downs and Connor Wong.
The returning pieces are almost never as good as the stars heading out, but when it comes time to sell pieces, teams often believe it’s better to get something instead of losing a player for nothing at all. Until or if the Red Sox can escape the basement of the American League, folks around baseball will be awaiting the seeming inevitability of a midsummer Bogaerts trade.