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Phillies Express Interest in Xander Bogaerts

Xander Bogaerts

Xander Bogaerts

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

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Phillies Interested in Xander Bogaerts

Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported on Saturday that the Phillies have genuine interest in signing former Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts.

The Phillies – fresh off of a loss against the Astros in the World Series – are looking to make a major splash on the free agent market and there’s no better position to go shopping at than shortstop. Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski already has a familiarity and a working relationship with Bogaerts from his time with the Red Sox, so it’s possible that things could come together quickly here.

The 30-year-old shortstop opted out of the final three years and $60 million that he had remaining on his contract with the Red Sox in order to strike it rich on the open market. MLBTradeRumors.com projects that Bogaerts will land a deal in the neighborhood of seven years and $189 million this winter.

Bogaerts had another very strong season at the dish in 2022, slashing .307/.377/.456 with 15 homers, 73 RBI and eight stolen bases (in 10 attempts) over 631 plate appearances in his 150 games.

The shortstop market is especially strong this offseason – with Bogaerts joining Trea Turner, Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson as elite options that are available at the position. There are plenty of teams looking to land one of them though, so unless interested suitors act quickly they could wind up left out. One of those teams – the Cubs – are expected to be very aggressive in looking to secure their shortstop.

Astros Lock Up Rafael Montero

Despite the fact that the Astros parted ways with general manager James Click and assistant general manager Scott Powers during the week, the club still managed to retain top setup man Rafael Montero by agreeing to a three-year, $34.5 million contract.

Montero functioned as the primary setup man in front of closer Ryan Pressly during the 2022 season – registering a 2.37 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 73/23 K/BB ratio across 68 1/3 innings. He notched five victories and closed out 14 games as well during an extremely impressive season.

His return will go a long way toward solidifying an Astros bullpen that was a major strength for them en route to their World Series title. Montero was especially dominant in the postseason, posting a 1.93 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 10/6 K/BB ratio across 9 1/3 innings in 10 appearances.

Kodai Senga Generating Interest

One of the most intriguing starting pitchers on the free agent market this season is Japanese right-hander Kodai Senga. The 29-year-old hurler was able to begin negotiating with MLB teams on November 10 and the list of clubs that have already expressed interest is growing rapidly. The Cubs, Dodgers, Angels, Rangers, Giants, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Mariners and Padres have all been linked to him at some point – and there are likely a dozen more clubs in the mix as well.

Senga had another outstanding campaign for the Fukouka Softbank Hawks in 2022 – going 11-6 with a 1.89 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 159/50 K/BB ratio over 148 innings in his 23 starts. He sports a fastball that routinely sits in the high 90’s and has touched as high as 102 mph, and also displays a terrific splitter.

He’s being viewed more as a middle of the rotation starter than someone who is going to come in and be the ace of a big league staff. MLBTradeRumors.com projects that Senga will ultimately command a contract in the realm of five years and $75 million.

MLB Quick Hits: Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Royals will hire Paul Hoover to be the bench coach for new manager Matt Quatraro… Guardians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said he had no intention of trading star right-hander Shane Bieber… The Royals are still very interested in bringing back right-hander Zack Greinke… The Astros announced that bench coach Joe Espada will return for the 2023 season… Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that the Red Sox have made a multi-year contract offer to right-hander Nathan Eovaldi… The Mariners have expressed interest in Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida… The Braves re-signed Jesse Chavez to a minor league contract with an invitation to big league camp… They also signed Nick Anderson to a one-year, non-guaranteed split contract… Heston Kjerstad was named as the Most Valuable Player of the Arizona Fall League… The Red Sox have expressed interest in acquiring Bryan Reynolds from the Pirates… The White Sox are among the teams that have inquired about A’s catcher Sean MurphyNolan Arenado and Jose Trevino were named as the Rawlings Platinum Glove Award recipients… The Rockies re-signed Jose Ureña to a one-year, $3 million contract with a $4 million club option for 2024… Mike Puma of the New York Post notes that several teams have expressed interest in right-hander Seth Lugo... The Blue Jays have kicked the tires on free agent southpaw Andrew Heaney.