Let's just save everyone a lot of trouble between now and November: Xander Bogaerts is gone.
The Red Sox can say they want to keep him. Bogaerts can say he wants to stay. But the writing isn't just on the wall, it's spray-painted in blinding fluorescent green that's visible from Neptune.
I have no idea if the Red Sox offered what amounts to a four-year, $90 million extension, as the New York Post reported, but those numbers didn't come from nowhere. Even if they're not pinpoint accurate, they're probably in the ballpark, suggesting yet another $100 million chasm between the Red Sox and a superstar.
We expected that with Rafael Devers, who views himself as a $300 million player while Chaim Bloom and the Red Sox hope to hold the line somewhere closer to $200 million. (Good luck with that.)
It's inexcusable with Bogaerts, 29, a franchise stalwart who has seen the shortstop market explode since he signed a team-friendly six-year, $120 million extension in 2019. Even if he's aging out of the $300 million contracts for Francisco Lindor of the Mets or Fernando Tatis of the Padres, his absolute floor is the seven-year, $175 million contract the Rangers gave Marcus Semien, a player two years his senior with nowhere near the track record.
If you're not approaching Semien as a starting point, you're wasting everyone's time and doing little more than boxing Bogaerts into a Jon Lester-esque corner. How is Bogaerts supposed to counter an offer that doesn't even reach $100 million? By asking for $400 million?
But it doesn't matter. Bogaerts has been gone for a while now and we should stop pretending otherwise. His fate was sealed the second the Red Sox signed his replacement, Trevor Story, to a six-year, $140 million contract.
The Red Sox were never going to keep Story, Bogaerts, and Devers, especially with so much positional murkiness between them. With Story already locked up, that leaves the decision between Bogaerts and Devers, and they've got two years to figure out the latter before he hits free agency, while the former can opt out this fall.
Call it lip service, call it eye wash, use the bodily metaphor of your choice, but everything the Red Sox say between now and the fall should be ignored. Bloom acknowledged on WEEI on Thursday that extension talks haven't "aligned," but added that the club is, "excited to take it up down the road."
Prepare to hear a lot of that over the next eight months, right up until the moment Bogaerts signs somewhere else and the Red Sox bemoan the fact that they just couldn't reach an agreement.
One need only watch Bogaerts' glum press conference in Yankee Stadium before the season opener to recognize the look of a man who knows his fate is sealed. Whereas Devers has matter-of-factly stated that he will hit free agency if that's what it takes to realize his worth, Bogaerts sounded depressed. There's no doubt he wants to be here. He has proven he can thrive here. He'd probably take a little less to stay here. And none of it's going to matter.
Remember two years ago when Bloom told anyone who would listen that the Red Sox remained engaged with free agent outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., even though it was clear they had no intentions of re-signing him? Get ready for more of that in the coming months.
The Red Sox will profess their loyalty to Bogaerts without ever making an offer he might seriously consider, and we will have wasted a lot bytes and breaths debating his destiny, so let's just clear this up once and for all:
When it comes to Bogaerts' future in Boston, he doesn't have one.