MLB free agency: Xander Bogaerts lands with Padres on 11-year, $280 million deal

Xander Bogaerts has been one of MLB's top shortstops over the past decade. (Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
Xander Bogaerts has been one of MLB's top shortstops over the past decade. (Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Xander Bogaerts is headed to the San Diego Padres.

The All-Star shortstop has agreed to an 11-year, $280 million deal, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan, ending a tenure with the Boston Red Sox going back 10 seasons and giving San Diego yet another mega-deal on its books.

Bogaerts, 30, hit the open market after opting out of the final three years of the six-year, $120 million contract extension he signed in 2019 and rejecting a qualifying offer from the Red Sox, attaching draft pick compensation to his signing.

Bogaerts earned his money with a strong walk year, taking Silver Slugger honors with a .307/.377/.456 line at the plate. His free agency loomed large in Boston the past few years, thanks to the team's tenuous status as a long-term contender and the departure of Mookie Betts, who was traded after the Red Sox failed to agree on a contract extension.

The Red Sox made an attempt to keep Bogaerts but didn't even break $200 million with their final contract offer, per the Boston Globe's Alex Speier.

The Padres keep making huge deals

While the Red Sox have been hesitant to commit massive money to players, the same cannot be said of the Padres.

The club fired its first shot in 2019, when it signed Manny Machado to a 10-year, $300 million contract in free agency. Once Fernando Tatis Jr. blossomed into a premier power hitter, he received a 14-year, $340 million extension. Then last year, the Padres traded five prospects and Luke Voit for on-base king Juan Soto.

Add Bogaerts, and you have a collection of four of MLB's biggest bats (though the luster has obviously faded from Tatis in light of recent events). That's a good way to keep building momentum after the team reached the NLCS for the first time since 1998.

Of course, Bogaerts is a bit of an awkward fit, considering the Padres already had a decent starting shortstop in Ha-Seong Kim. Then there's Tatis, who was previously the team's shortstop, and super-utility man Jake Cronenworth. Having four shortstops in a lineup is an enviable problem, but it probably means the Padres will have to move players around, a task made easier with the designated hitter.

A possible 2023 lineup could look like:

  1. Xander Bogaerts, SS

  2. Juan Soto, RF

  3. Manny Machado, 3B

  4. Fernando Tatis, LF

  5. Jake Cronenworth, 1B

  6. Ha-Seong Kim, 2B

  7. Austin Nola, C

  8. José Azocar, DH

  9. Trent Grisham, CF

It's tough to think of a better top of a lineup than that in MLB right now, though it remains to be seen how a) those elite players age and b) if they stay in San Diego long-term. Soto is set to hit free agency in two years, while Machado has a contract opt-out after the 2023 season.

Padres made runs at Trea Turner, Aaron Judge

The third time seems to have been the charm for San Diego.

There had been noise around the club's pursuit of another star shortstop, Trea Turner. The Padres reportedly offered him $342 million before he inked an 11-year, $300 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Then they turned their attention to Aaron Judge, reportedly offering the slugger $400 million, which would have been the second-largest contract in MLB history. He turned that down to return to the New York Yankees for nine years and $360 million.

Bogaerts and Turner were two of the four top shortstops to hit free agency this offseason, leaving Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson for teams still hoping to make a splash at the position.