The Red Sox have a cornerstone-sized void in the franchise to fill with shortstop Xander Bogaerts reportedly leaving Boston and heading to the San Diego Padres on an 11-year deal.
Bogaerts, whom Red Sox director of baseball Chaim Bloom said is the organization’s No. 1 priority this offseason, would earn $280 million over those 11 seasons. It’s quite a financial commitment for the 30-year-old infielder. So, with Boston’s Plan A headed to the National League West, the Red Sox must sift through Plans B, C and D as they attempt to compete in the incredible depth of the American League East.
There are still options on the open market for the Red Sox. Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson, two of the top four shortstops to enter free agency, are still available. There are also other lesser-known veterans in this position. But if the Red Sox choose to steer clear of outside ads, they have internal options to fill Bogaerts’ role.
The Red Sox declared both two-time Major League Baseball All-Star shortstop Trevor Story and versatile Kiké Hernández. box play the position. As for Story, the potential that he could go from second base to shortstop was a possible outcome as soon as the Red Sox signed him to a six-year, $140 million contract during the last offseason. Story spent his first six seasons playing shortstop for the Colorado Rockies and recorded a .979 fielding percentage, although the strength of his arm in the holeshot was one of the reasons the moving to second base made sense. Hernández, meanwhile, has 64 career starts at shortstop with a similar .978 fielding percentage.
Of course, moving Story or Hernández would fill one hole and create another. If that turns out to be the way the Red Sox are going about it, then Boston will have to find a new second baseman or center fielder every day, depending on which one got moved. These positions don’t feature much depth in the open market with center field led by Brandon Nimmo and Kevin Kiermaier and second base highlighted by Jean Segura and Adam Frazier. A trade for an outfielder (maybe Bryan Reynolds?) isn’t out of order either.
If Story is the one to be moved to shortstop, which seems like the most likely inside scenario, Christian Arroyo is a viable option to take over the sack at second base. Arroyo, 27, who impressed when he was in the line-up, however, hasn’t proved too reliable due to injuries. Fellow countryman Jeter Downs, who made his MLB debut for the Red Sox last season and played in 14 games, also went 56 innings (eight games) at second base. There’s a chance that Downs could complement Arroyo in this position, although it’s tough for either to bring the same pop to the roster. This offensive production could only exist outside.
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