LAS VEGAS — The Red Sox would have to be blown away to deal one of the best position players in baseball, Xander Bogaerts, and the idea they’re actively shopping some of their established players have been “overblown,” a baseball source with direct knowledge of the situation said on Tuesday night.
A separate source also said the Diamondbacks specifically are not trading for Jackie Bradley Jr.
The Red Sox are wise to explore the possibility of moving some of their players close to free agency, like Rick Porcello and Bradley — wise, in particular, if they’re doing so with the goal of not only shedding salary alone, but to acquire pieces that would be further away from free agency. They could then potentially replace those they give up with other alternatives that may cost less via free agency.
Sustainability should be a goal for the franchise, and this offseason and next represent potential turning points as the Sox may lose some of their best players to free agency.
But Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has always been focused on the present more than the future, and that hasn’t changed. Teams have, and likely will continue to, bring the Sox offers for established players. But the Sox don’t appear to be the ones doing the shopping. They have a willingness to listen, and any ownership group would like the idea of moving money — who doesn’t like to save money? — but it’s not going to be an easy sell for Dombrowski to detract from his title-defense roster.
When considering that Dombrowski is under contract only for another two seasons, there’s even less incentive for him to be concerned with the future.
The Sox can absorb the loss of some present talent. They won 108 games, and they’re likely to go into the year with a slightly weaker roster, as Craig Kimbrel is expected to go elsewhere as a free agent. That’s OK, though, because the Sox will still enter the season with one of baseball's best teams.
But Bogaerts would be a virtually impossible player to replace and his 2018 season was probably buried by the success of so many around him. If he leaves as a free agent — and he’s very likely to test the market — well, so be it. But parting with Bogaerts would be a mistake barring a huge haul, and the Sox know that.
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