The good times lasted about 11 hours. The fallout will likely be felt for years, and I honestly don't see how Chaim Bloom survives.
Early Thursday morning, the Red Sox didn't just lose All-Star Xander Bogaerts. They watched their heart and soul -- a man who wanted to spend his entire career in Boston until the Red Sox repeatedly dared him to do otherwise -- sign a massive $280 million contract with the Padres.
This is a disaster even by Red Sox standards. The obvious comparison is Jon Lester, another homegrown star they lowballed before free agency, but a better comp might be Carlton Fisk, the Hall of Fame catcher who embarked on an extended second act with the White Sox. If Bogaerts plays out all 11 years of his new deal, he'll have spent one more season in San Diego than Boston.
This is a dark day for a franchise that seemed to build momentum on Wednesday after signing closer Kenley Jansen and Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida. Word simultaneously leaked that they were nearing a deal with Bogaerts, too, but the problem with momentum is it has a shelf life. When midnight came without a signature, we all gulped. And then the Padres struck.
Calling it an overpay misses the point to a degree that merits a punch in the face. The Red Sox screwed this up in April when they insulted their de facto captain, and then again in August when they traded away his closest friend, and then again in October when they dribbled out their exclusive negotiating window.
They screwed it up because Bloom insisted on withholding a free agent-caliber offer until Bogaerts actually reached free agency, a disastrously short-sighted decision that allowed every organization in baseball to pitch one of the game's premier offensive shortstops while also souring him on the only city he ever wanted to call home. Let the record show that in April, the Red Sox considered a one-year, $30 million extension a fair offer, which is, was, and always will be insane.
One of those teams hunting for a shortstop is spending money like it just learned it has only three weeks to live. Unlike their big-market brethren with small-market aspirations, the Padres don't care about budgets. After watching Trea Turner spurn them for less money from the Phillies, they made Bogaerts an offer no one would refuse.
Bloom was just boarding a red-eye back to Boston when the news broke, and that must've been one lonely flight. The chief baseball officer hired for his ability to build a farm system keeps blowing holes in the big league roster, and we can probably write the epitaph on his Red Sox tenure already: He traded Mookie for nothing, lost Bogey for even less, and left the franchise worse than he found it. What a legacy.
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Making matters worse, Bloom declared Bogaerts his first and only priority this winter, a proclamation eternally doomed to drag him to the bottom of the ocean. The Boston Globe reported that the Red Sox offered Bogaerts six years and $160 million, a stunning misreading of a market that has already exploded, and less than the Rangers gave an inferior player -- second baseman Marcus Semien -- only one year earlier. If that's the deal that had them believing they were building momentum towards an agreement, then they're living in a fantasy.
Except that fantasy is now a nightmare. The fans that abandoned them over Betts will positively revolt over Bogaerts, a two-time champion who represented the organization with dignity and class. Good luck finding anyone, anywhere, with a bad word to say about him. Don't be surprised if Rafael Devers is next on the chopping block.
The Red Sox just removed their best all-around player from a last-place team. Replacing him would be difficult in normal circumstances, and they've lost all benefit of the doubt. A challenging offseason just got that much harder, because now they need a shortstop, too.
They had a good one who loved Boston. They didn't let him get away so much as push and push and push until he finally got the hint. They'll be cleaning up this mess for a long time.