Xander Bogaerts has opted out of his contract

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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When you look at how Jeremy Pena did this year, I start to wonder how he was rated as a prospect compared to Marcelo Mayer. Houston gambled on letting Correa go and handing the job to Pena. Now Pena is the World Series MVP, and a cost controlled star for the next several years at arguably the most important position on the diamond. Players like that make a GM's job so much easier, when they can have cost controlled stars and only need to fill a few gaps with free agents to make a contender. I love X, but if we could have someone like Pena in Mayer, I wouldn't want to block him positionally or financially.
Well yeah! That’s the ideal for a GM…. As your star SS hits a certain age, his mL understudy that was picked 4-5 years ago is ready to step in and almost without even a step backwards.
If Mayer is that guy…. There’s at LEAST 2 full seasons where there’s a gap.
 

Sausage in Section 17

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Mar 17, 2004
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OK, so maybe he won’t be here right away. But I seem to recall that we’ve been paying David Price $16 million a year for the last couple of years not to play for us, and I hope we don’t have to do the same with Xander once Mayer makes the majors. I wonder what the Sox could’ve done with an additional $16 million worth of payroll either last year or this year that might have pushed them further ahead. I was dubious when they signed Price, but they were right at the brink of going for a championship, and sometimes that’s the point I think you try to make a deal with the devil. I’m not sure I think the Sox are in the same position in terms of how close they are right now, so I think this is a tough decision for this organization.
 

chrisfont9

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When you look at how Jeremy Pena did this year, I start to wonder how he was rated as a prospect compared to Marcelo Mayer. Houston gambled on letting Correa go and handing the job to Pena. Now Pena is the World Series MVP, and a cost controlled star for the next several years at arguably the most important position on the diamond. Players like that make a GM's job so much easier, when they can have cost controlled stars and only need to fill a few gaps with free agents to make a contender. I love X, but if we could have someone like Pena in Mayer, I wouldn't want to block him positionally or financially.
Pena had a wonderful postseason and his defensive value is undeniably significant, but he also put up a 101 OPS+ this year, his lowest production at any level -- which, yeah, it's the majors, but those aren't star numbers just yet. But if you want to look at it optimistically, he started hitting well in college at age 19, by age 21 he was in A ball and producing solid numbers (>.800 OPS), and continued for two more very good minor league campaigns before reaching the ML. That's a pretty deep foundation of success, and will probably set him up well going forward.

Mayer is putting up similar numbers already in A and A+ ball at age 19, two years younger than when Pena made his impression at that level. But the Sox will have to be careful not to unduly rush him through. If we didn't see him til 2025, that might be for the best.
 

streeter88

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There is no news that I can see here, and I don’t speak Spanish… but this seems… hopeful.
View: https://twitter.com/marino_pepen/status/1593055011545976832?s=21&t=2e8dItet-K816YJRjFAz5Q

edit: Google translated something like:

Everything indicates the next few days will be very active for the Red Sox. (And then he plugs his instagram account)

Surprises are coming!

PS sorry this may be a complete nothingburger, but I’m doom scrolling because I have jet lag and it’s 4am here.
 
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Yo La Tengo

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Pena had a wonderful postseason and his defensive value is undeniably significant, but he also put up a 101 OPS+ this year, his lowest production at any level -- which, yeah, it's the majors, but those aren't star numbers just yet.
Worth noting that Pena has a fantastic start to the season, injured his thumb in early June, missed time and then struggled through the summer, and then had a great September through the playoffs.
 

JBJ_HOF

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How many times can Marino Pepen advertise his instagram with nothing happening after until people stop posting his stuff. It's brutal. The guy just translates news from beat writers, and especially, the reporters in the Dominican.
 

Marbleheader

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Sep 27, 2004
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How many times can Marino Pepen advertise his instagram with nothing happening after until people stop posting his stuff. It's brutal. The guy just translates news from beat writers, and especially, the reporters in the Dominican.
Cuántas veces puede Marino Pepen publicitar su instagram sin que pase nada hasta que la gente deje de publicar sus cosas. es brutal El tipo solo traduce noticias de los escritores de turno, y especialmente, los reporteros en la República Dominicana.
 

Sausage in Section 17

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Pena had a wonderful postseason and his defensive value is undeniably significant, but he also put up a 101 OPS+ this year, his lowest production at any level -- which, yeah, it's the majors, but those aren't star numbers just yet. But if you want to look at it optimistically, he started hitting well in college at age 19, by age 21 he was in A ball and producing solid numbers (>.800 OPS), and continued for two more very good minor league campaigns before reaching the ML. That's a pretty deep foundation of success, and will probably set him up well going forward.

Mayer is putting up similar numbers already in A and A+ ball at age 19, two years younger than when Pena made his impression at that level. But the Sox will have to be careful not to unduly rush him through. If we didn't see him til 2025, that might be for the best.
I am not suggesting Mayer is ready to replace X at this time, and I agree he should not be rushed. 2025 seems realistic at this point. We will likely only need X at SS for two years, but I don't see him signing less than a 5 year deal. Will the Sox (or any other team) want to pay Xander north of $25M/year to play the OF if he is hitting say....275/.350/.400 2 years from now? At that point, he probably won't be able to get a job playing SS, and paying a premium for middling offensive production from your OF is drain on any team's resources and chances.

And Pena is already a star by almost any definition. He put up a 4.8 WAR as a rookie, X was 5.8 this year (his second best season) and played more games. X also didn't break an OPS+ over 100 until his 3rd season. They are different players, with Xander (at this point) clearly a better offensive player, but Pena is a young cornerstone, perhaps even more polished already than X was at his age.
 

nvalvo

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275/.350/.400
This is a pretty bearish read on Xander's offensive projection IMO. In two years, he'll be only 32, and he's had an OPS between .830 and .940 each season for the last five years. His HR power dipped a bit this season, but he still posted a .377 OBP and contended for a batting title.

I agree that getting a .750 OPS out of an expensive leftfielder wouldn't be great. But getting an .850 OPS out of an expensive leftfielder would be just fine.
 

chrisfont9

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Worth noting that Pena has a fantastic start to the season, injured his thumb in early June, missed time and then struggled through the summer, and then had a great September through the playoffs.
I am not suggesting Mayer is ready to replace X at this time, and I agree he should not be rushed. 2025 seems realistic at this point. We will likely only need X at SS for two years, but I don't see him signing less than a 5 year deal. Will the Sox (or any other team) want to pay Xander north of $25M/year to play the OF if he is hitting say....275/.350/.400 2 years from now? At that point, he probably won't be able to get a job playing SS, and paying a premium for middling offensive production from your OF is drain on any team's resources and chances.

And Pena is already a star by almost any definition. He put up a 4.8 WAR as a rookie, X was 5.8 this year (his second best season) and played more games. X also didn't break an OPS+ over 100 until his 3rd season. They are different players, with Xander (at this point) clearly a better offensive player, but Pena is a young cornerstone, perhaps even more polished already than X was at his age.
Noted. I'm not suggesting he isn't on the cusp of stardom, just saying let's give it a bit more time before suggesting that the Astros have completely replaced Correa's production. I *would* go so far as to say Pena is a big reason why I can't sustain Astors hate anymore. There's nothing not to like about Pena.
 

streeter88

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How many times can Marino Pepen advertise his instagram with nothing happening after until people stop posting his stuff. It's brutal. The guy just translates news from beat writers, and especially, the reporters in the Dominican.
Sorry, I got sucked in - again. But there’s a Rumors thread just started, so maybe there is something brewing?
 
This is a pretty bearish read on Xander's offensive projection IMO. In two years, he'll be only 32, and he's had an OPS between .830 and .940 each season for the last five years. His HR power dipped a bit this season, but he still posted a .377 OBP and contended for a batting title.

I agree that getting a .750 OPS out of an expensive leftfielder wouldn't be great. But getting an .850 OPS out of an expensive leftfielder would be just fine.
It's absolutely a bearish projection, but it's absolutely possible and hardly the worst case scenario.

Last year I posted this:

If X requires something around market rate for an extension, we are expecting 8-10 years right? As much as I like X and as much as it would pain me to see him go (as it did Mookie), do we really want to be paying him into his age 38-40 year?

Let's look at how many batters age 36+ qualified for the batting title over the past few seasons, and of those how many put up at least 2 fWAR.
  • 2021: 6 qualified, 4 2+ WAR (Turner, Votto, Gurriel, Cruz)
  • 2020: 4 qualified, 1 2+ WAR prorated (Cruz)
  • 2019: 4 qualified, 1 2+ WAR (Cruz)
  • 2018: 4 qualified, 3 2+ WAR (Zobrist, Cruz, Kinsler)
  • 2017: 6 qualified, 2 2+ WAR (Cruz, Granderson)
  • 2016: 7 qualified, 4 2+ WAR (Beltre, Ortiz, Beltran, Utley
  • 2015: 8 qualified, 3 2+ WAR (Beltre, Ortiz, Rodriguez)
  • 2014: 5 qualified, 2 2+ WAR (Ortiz, Byrd)
  • 2013: 9 qualified, 5 2+ WAR (Ortiz, Hunter, Beltran, Soriano, Scutaro)
  • 2012: 9 qualified, 7 2+ WAR (Hunter, Jeter, Soriano, Rodriguez, Scutaro, Suzuki, Konerko)
  • 2011: 9 qualified, 2 2+ WAR (Jeter, Carroll)
On average over the last 11 years age 36+ players who qualified for the batting title averaged 1.68 WAR per season. Over the past 5 years, that number drops to 1.51.

That might not seem so bad, but keep in mind that this is emphasizing the best case scenario. We're looking exclusively at players who have managed to stay in baseball through their age 36 seasons.

I also looked at every player who put up at least 30 fWAR over the past 20 years to get a rough idea of X's peers. I looked at the point in each player's career after which they no longer consistently produced at least 2 fWAR per season. Most of these players never put up 2 fWAR season after their "fall off" year, but a few did sprinkle in one or two 2+ win seasons amid several sub 2 win seasons.

Among this group, there are four players that are age 36+, still active, and still producing: Nelson Cruz (41), Josh Donaldson (36), Justin Turner (36), and maybe Joey Votto (37). Interestingly 3 of those 4 were "late bloomers" that didn't really start performing at their top level until their late 20's, and the jury is out on Votto. He was good in '21 but had two crappy years before that. If his next few seasons are crappy, in hindsight his fall off year will be his age 35 season.

Of the players that are either no longer active or have already clearly reached their fall off points, the average fall off age was 34.42. Keep in mind that this stretches back to the steroid years, so there are quite a few players on the list that were aging in an era that was much friendlier to older players.

There are certainly some examples of players who were useful into their late 30's or beyond, like Big Papi, Chipper Jones, Jeter, Bonds, and A-Rod. There are many more cautionary tales of players that raked into their late 20s and fell off a cliff in their early 30s. David Wright, Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols, and Troy Tulowitzki all jumped out as cautionary tales. Two current players who haven't gotten old enough for me to put them on the list that raise concerns are Christian Yelich and Anthony Rendon. Yelich put up monster numbers from age 24-27 and has been mediocre in his age 28 and 29 seasons. Will he recover or will he be the next Carl Crawford? Rendon was great from ages 26-30 but last year he was way off. It's only one year, but surprisingly often great hitters just disappear in their early 30s.

Let's look at the attrition rate for 80 players who registered 30+ fWAR in the last 20 years:

View attachment 47219

Most players in this group are still productive through age 30, but then a period of sharp attrition follows until the mid 30's, where there is a brief plateau followed by a second period of sharp attrition. If a player is still productive at age 37, there's a decent chance that they will hang on for at least another year or two.

I'm sure that the Red Sox have better data than this, but I doubt that it shows a dramatically different picture. Time is brutal, even for elite players. Also keep in mind that my bar is set pretty low for productivity. Most of these guys were solid 4-6 win players for many years, so an expectation of 2 win seasons already represents significant degradation from peak performance. You do not want to be spending $30mm per year for 2 fWAR, although if you're getting 5 fWAR initially for several years it at least becomes more palatable toward the end of a deal.

But the fact of the matter is that even great players have pretty bad odds of producing at a 2 win clip into their mid to late 30's. If the Sox extend Bogaerts, there's something like a 25% chance that he won't even be producing at a 2 fWAR/year in year 3 of the extension. I'd give Devers an 8-10 year deal right now because there's a very solid chance that he's still putting up respectable results up until the very last years of that deal. Unfortunately I think the ship has sailed on Bogaerts unless he's willing to take something like 5/150 or 5/175, which I very much doubt.

The TL;DR is that I looked at 20 years worth of 30+ career WAR players and identified the age at which each player ceased to produce at a 2.0 fWAR level. This was an attempt to get a rough sense of the actuarial tables for productivity among star players as they age. The chart is sobering. By age 32 fully 25% of these players were no longer producing at a 2 fWAR level and by age 33 it was more like 40%. By age 34 nearly 50% had fallen off, and by age 36 75% had fallen off.

Many of these players just suddenly stopped producing with no obvious warning signs. I also mentioned Yelich and Rendon as two players who had enough WAR but weren't old enough yet to be considered for this chart. I noted that both had concerning career trajectories. Yelich put up an OK season in '22, enough to keep him on the "still producing" list even though he's a shell of his former self at the tender age of 30. He might have a resurgence, of course, but as of now it's not looking great. Rendon, on the other hand, looks pretty cooked. He's now had two consecutive seasons of fWAR<1 and is three seasons off his peak production. Barring a very surprising comeback, he'll end up on this chart as a casualty at age 30.

A .750 OPS at short this season would probably put him in the 2.5-3.5 win range depending on his defense, while in left field it would likely put him well below 2 and possibly even negative WAR depending on defense.

So if the table I posted holds, then there's something like a 25% chance that X's OPS will be well below .750 at short, or perhaps about that level if he hangs on in left field, and a 40% chance of that being true at age 33. Is that bearish? Yeah, I suppose so. But not exactly unlikely either.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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It's absolutely a bearish projection, but it's absolutely possible and hardly the worst case scenario.

Last year I posted this:

If X requires something around market rate for an extension, we are expecting 8-10 years right? As much as I like X and as much as it would pain me to see him go (as it did Mookie), do we really want to be paying him into his age 38-40 year?

Let's look at how many batters age 36+ qualified for the batting title over the past few seasons, and of those how many put up at least 2 fWAR.
  • 2021: 6 qualified, 4 2+ WAR (Turner, Votto, Gurriel, Cruz)
  • 2020: 4 qualified, 1 2+ WAR prorated (Cruz)
  • 2019: 4 qualified, 1 2+ WAR (Cruz)
  • 2018: 4 qualified, 3 2+ WAR (Zobrist, Cruz, Kinsler)
  • 2017: 6 qualified, 2 2+ WAR (Cruz, Granderson)
  • 2016: 7 qualified, 4 2+ WAR (Beltre, Ortiz, Beltran, Utley
  • 2015: 8 qualified, 3 2+ WAR (Beltre, Ortiz, Rodriguez)
  • 2014: 5 qualified, 2 2+ WAR (Ortiz, Byrd)
  • 2013: 9 qualified, 5 2+ WAR (Ortiz, Hunter, Beltran, Soriano, Scutaro)
  • 2012: 9 qualified, 7 2+ WAR (Hunter, Jeter, Soriano, Rodriguez, Scutaro, Suzuki, Konerko)
  • 2011: 9 qualified, 2 2+ WAR (Jeter, Carroll)
On average over the last 11 years age 36+ players who qualified for the batting title averaged 1.68 WAR per season. Over the past 5 years, that number drops to 1.51.

That might not seem so bad, but keep in mind that this is emphasizing the best case scenario. We're looking exclusively at players who have managed to stay in baseball through their age 36 seasons.

I also looked at every player who put up at least 30 fWAR over the past 20 years to get a rough idea of X's peers. I looked at the point in each player's career after which they no longer consistently produced at least 2 fWAR per season. Most of these players never put up 2 fWAR season after their "fall off" year, but a few did sprinkle in one or two 2+ win seasons amid several sub 2 win seasons.

Among this group, there are four players that are age 36+, still active, and still producing: Nelson Cruz (41), Josh Donaldson (36), Justin Turner (36), and maybe Joey Votto (37). Interestingly 3 of those 4 were "late bloomers" that didn't really start performing at their top level until their late 20's, and the jury is out on Votto. He was good in '21 but had two crappy years before that. If his next few seasons are crappy, in hindsight his fall off year will be his age 35 season.

Of the players that are either no longer active or have already clearly reached their fall off points, the average fall off age was 34.42. Keep in mind that this stretches back to the steroid years, so there are quite a few players on the list that were aging in an era that was much friendlier to older players.

There are certainly some examples of players who were useful into their late 30's or beyond, like Big Papi, Chipper Jones, Jeter, Bonds, and A-Rod. There are many more cautionary tales of players that raked into their late 20s and fell off a cliff in their early 30s. David Wright, Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols, and Troy Tulowitzki all jumped out as cautionary tales. Two current players who haven't gotten old enough for me to put them on the list that raise concerns are Christian Yelich and Anthony Rendon. Yelich put up monster numbers from age 24-27 and has been mediocre in his age 28 and 29 seasons. Will he recover or will he be the next Carl Crawford? Rendon was great from ages 26-30 but last year he was way off. It's only one year, but surprisingly often great hitters just disappear in their early 30s.

Let's look at the attrition rate for 80 players who registered 30+ fWAR in the last 20 years:

View attachment 47219

Most players in this group are still productive through age 30, but then a period of sharp attrition follows until the mid 30's, where there is a brief plateau followed by a second period of sharp attrition. If a player is still productive at age 37, there's a decent chance that they will hang on for at least another year or two.

I'm sure that the Red Sox have better data than this, but I doubt that it shows a dramatically different picture. Time is brutal, even for elite players. Also keep in mind that my bar is set pretty low for productivity. Most of these guys were solid 4-6 win players for many years, so an expectation of 2 win seasons already represents significant degradation from peak performance. You do not want to be spending $30mm per year for 2 fWAR, although if you're getting 5 fWAR initially for several years it at least becomes more palatable toward the end of a deal.

But the fact of the matter is that even great players have pretty bad odds of producing at a 2 win clip into their mid to late 30's. If the Sox extend Bogaerts, there's something like a 25% chance that he won't even be producing at a 2 fWAR/year in year 3 of the extension. I'd give Devers an 8-10 year deal right now because there's a very solid chance that he's still putting up respectable results up until the very last years of that deal. Unfortunately I think the ship has sailed on Bogaerts unless he's willing to take something like 5/150 or 5/175, which I very much doubt.

The TL;DR is that I looked at 20 years worth of 30+ career WAR players and identified the age at which each player ceased to produce at a 2.0 fWAR level. This was an attempt to get a rough sense of the actuarial tables for productivity among star players as they age. The chart is sobering. By age 32 fully 25% of these players were no longer producing at a 2 fWAR level and by age 33 it was more like 40%. By age 34 nearly 50% had fallen off, and by age 36 75% had fallen off.

Many of these players just suddenly stopped producing with no obvious warning signs. I also mentioned Yelich and Rendon as two players who had enough WAR but weren't old enough yet to be considered for this chart. I noted that both had concerning career trajectories. Yelich put up an OK season in '22, enough to keep him on the "still producing" list even though he's a shell of his former self at the tender age of 30. He might have a resurgence, of course, but as of now it's not looking great. Rendon, on the other hand, looks pretty cooked. He's now had two consecutive seasons of fWAR<1 and is three seasons off his peak production. Barring a very surprising comeback, he'll end up on this chart as a casualty at age 30.

A .750 OPS at short this season would probably put him in the 2.5-3.5 win range depending on his defense, while in left field it would likely put him well below 2 and possibly even negative WAR depending on defense.

So if the table I posted holds, then there's something like a 25% chance that X's OPS will be well below .750 at short, or perhaps about that level if he hangs on in left field, and a 40% chance of that being true at age 33. Is that bearish? Yeah, I suppose so. But not exactly unlikely either.
But I'm not worried about John Henry's money so we shouldn't care and should just sign him with no regard to any of this because we like Xander.

EDIT- I apologize for the above. Your post is really great and deserves a better response. My super-snark is staying unless a Mod deletes it.... but I think you hit the nail on the head here perfectly. While I really like Xander and do want him back- he's got a lot of red flags. I know that the Sox have a ton of money to spend before hitting the cap and even more after '23 if they don't spend it this season, but THERE IS A BUDGET and maybe it's not the best idea to just sign guys where Xander is right now for his age and very likely soon regression defensively enough that he has to move in which his likely offensive regression won't be able to make up for that move off SS.
Devers has flags also but has 3 (?) extra years if they can get him to sign before '23 season. Big plus. But he's had struggles in the 2nd half consistently now enough for it to be something to consider. Defensively his only spot to really drop down is 1B and Casas looks like he should own that for at least 6 more seasons. DH? That's an expensive DH. Is it expensive for a flex 3B/1B/DH though?
 
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TapeAndPosts

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Jul 21, 2006
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It is a good piece, thanks for sharing! Two points that jumped out:

1. Xander attributed some of his defensive success in 2022 to doing work improving his position before the pitch, and stats seem to bear this out, showing he had a good year just getting to the ball. This makes it feel a little more like his defensive success this year could be reproducible, since at least some of it comes from an explicit change he made whose effects are detectable.

But

2. Xander was best defensively in 2022 during shifts, when he was on the right side of second base. This won't be happening in the future, as the shift will be banned in 2023 (though maybe he'll still field better when he's as close to the 2B bag as he's allowed to be). Ironic that the article makes a case for how he might do well as a second baseman, since we already have a shortstop being played as a second baseman. Of course, it's possible all SS's look better and better the closer they get to first base... but the Sox shifted a lot this year, and some of the value he showed there will vanish.

Don't know if this all changes my feelings about how long a deal he should get, but it's interesting to think about. If we do resign him, point 1 might make me feel a little better about the work he'll put in to mitigating his defensive decline, or to adapting to a position shift. Assuming he didn't just do it for the contract year :p
 

OCD SS

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Basically what I'm seeing is that X is pretty comparable to Story; for all the worry about Story's arm, it sounds like X isn't grading out well either, so neither look like candidates to move to 3B. Story has more range on defense and X has a better bat.

It would be just as easy to sign X and have him shift to 2B down the road (ideally for Mayer), but then you have to trade Story, but given their respective meanings to the Sox, I wouldn't see that as a problem for awhile.
 

Farty Barrett

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Nov 4, 2012
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Hanley Ramirez and Blake Swihart are still in the rear view mirror, but would Xander to LF be another bad idea?
Not right away, but years from now. Mayer is up and ready and Story settled and steady at 2B.
Verdugo, if not traded before then, will be a FA 2025.

What makes that type of transition easier for some players? And is Xander capable of a move to Boston unique left field?

I like the way that could play out, because I think X will age well and want him here. And I want him here for when Mayer and Rafaela are ready.
Is that dumb though? Did I miss something everyone else learned from Hanley and Blake?
 

Bob Montgomerys Helmet Hat

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Hanley Ramirez and Blake Swihart are still in the rear view mirror, but would Xander to LF be another bad idea?
Not right away, but years from now. Mayer is up and ready and Story settled and steady at 2B.
Verdugo, if not traded before then, will be a FA 2025.

What makes that type of transition easier for some players? And is Xander capable of a move to Boston unique left field?

I like the way that could play out, because I think X will age well and want him here. And I want him here for when Mayer and Rafaela are ready.
Is that dumb though? Did I miss something everyone else learned from Hanley and Blake?
Blake had a freak accident. I think he could have played LF just fine. Hanley, on the other hand, was pretty much a DH at that point in his career, and could barely play anywhere. I don't think there is anything to learn about X from the experience with those two.
 

DeadlySplitter

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Gammons tidbit: https://theathletic.com/3877640/2022/11/18/gammons-building-winning-team-culture/

We have never been told who made the contract offer to Bogaerts earlier this year, which was less than what they gave Story and guaranteed Bogaerts would hit the free-agent market with Scott Boras working for him. Many general managers maintain that the spring Bogaerts offer made it clear whoever made it didn’t want Bogaerts back.
It doesn't feel early with Thanksgiving in 6 days, but the offseason is less than two weeks old. This is going to drag out to at least winter meetings.
 

chawson

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Aug 1, 2006
3,257
That is edited. He's legendary
I feel for that editor. The prose stylization is so consuming that the final version ends up misspelling the names of Evan Drellich, Lou Trivino and Jeffrey Loria (at least).