With Xander Bogaerts' opt-out decision looming, the Boston Red Sox could look to add talent to the middle of their infield this offseason.
Bogaerts has a player option for the 2023 season. Even if the two-time World Series champion chooses to stay in Boston, his defensive decline leaves the Red Sox with their own decision to make at the shortstop position.
That decision could come this offseason with several star shortstops on the free-agent market. Each of the top options are capable of switching to second base -- a position Boston likely is looking to upgrade -- for as long as Bogaerts remains at short. Christian Arroyo is projected to be the team's everyday second baseman in 2022 if they stand pat.
Here's a look at the top five shortstops available this winter.
5. Javier Baez
2021 stats: .265/.319/.494, 31 HR, 87 RBI (138 games)
Baez's Chicago Cubs tenure came to an end at last year's trade deadline as the slick middle infielder was dealt to the New York Mets. The move to Queens seemed to revitalize him as he went on to hit .299 with nine homers and a .886 OPS in 47 games. Expect the Mets to make re-signing Baez a priority this offseason.
4. Marcus Semien
2021 stats: .265/.334/.538, 45 HR, 102 RBI (162 games)
After a dismal 2020 campaign, Semien signed a one-year "prove it" deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. All he did after that was slug 45 homers while moving over to second base to put himself in the American League MVP conversation. The Red Sox reportedly are considered a possible suitor for the 31-year-old but they'll have plenty of competition, including their archrivals.
UPDATE (Nov. 28): Semien reportedly has inked a seven-year deal with the Texas Rangers.
3. Trevor Story
2021 stats: .251/.329/.471, 24 HR, 75 RBI (142 games)
Last season was a frustrating one for Story. With Nolan Arenado no longer with him on the left side of the infield and the Colorado Rockies in the midst of a rebuilding phase, he and everyone else expected him to be moved to a contender at the trade deadline. Instead, the Rockies made the puzzling decision to hold on to a star they knew would be leaving in free agency. Now that he's on the market, expect plenty of clubs to compete for the two-time All-Star's services.
2. Corey Seager
2021 stats: .306/.394/.521, 16 HR, 57 RBI (95 games)
Seager missed more than a month last season after fracturing his hand on a hit-by-pitch. Other than that, it was another spectacular season for the Los Angeles Dodgers star. The 2020 World Series MVP is one of the game's best all-around hitters and will cost a pretty penny for whichever team scoops him up.
UPDATE (Nov. 29): Seager is joining Semien in Texas, agreeing to a 10-year, $325 million deal with the Rangers, per ESPN's Jeff Passan.
1. Carlos Correa
2021 stats: .279/.366/.485, 26 HR, 92 RBI (148 games)
Correa is the top free-agent shortstop and possibly the top free agent overall this winter. The two-time All-Star's offensive numbers speak for themselves, but he's also one of the best in the game defensively. With the Houston Astros likely to move on from their former top prospect, the Correa sweepstakes will be fascinating to keep tabs on.