There are rumors out of Milwaukee that the Brewers are after Xander Bogaerts. Why would the Red Sox trade him, and what could they expect in return?
The Red Sox have painful salary issues coming after 2019. The MLB Luxury Tax is a big deal. The Red Sox are already losing draft positions and paying out millions.
Along with Bogaerts, Chris Sale and Rick Porcello will be free agents. JD Martinez has an opt-out, and will use it if he approximates his performance from last year. Mookie Betts’ arbitration numbers are going to exponentially expand.
Furthermore, Scott Boras represents Bogaerts, who just had a career year. Boras does not take hometown discounts. As for Bogaerts production, he hit the ball harder in 2018 than any year other than his 44 game cup of coffee in 2013. And he’s never hit it farther.
Is his 2018 a career year, or the natural progression of a top talent? It’s hard to take one year, that is an outlier against his other five in the majors, as the new baseline.
What The Sox Could Expect In Trade
Recently, Paul Goldschmidt was traded from the Diamondbacks to the Cardinals. Goldschmidt, like Xander, was in the last year of his deal.
Goldschmidt is the Diamondbacks all time leader in OPS, SLG, Walks, and WAR. In short, his is Arizona’s Mookie Betts. For this perennial MVP candidate, the Cardinals gave up Luke Weaver, Carson Kelly, Andy Young, and a draft pick. Weaver has had a modicum of success in the majors, and Kelly was a highly rated catching prospect who had a poor showing in 2018, while Young is a middling prospect.
Because of that trade, and Xander’s impending free agency, the Red Sox can expect something less. Xander simply isn’t in the class of Paul Goldschmidt. Think 24 year old SS Orlando Arcia, a slick defensive player, but number 9 hitter. He had a .661 OPS last year in Milwaukee. Add to that perhaps Freddy Peralta, who is 22 and went 6-4 with a 4.25 ERA, including 11 K/9 and 4.6 BB/9, in 2018. Peralta also had a typically dominant and wild game in the playoffs against the Dodgers. He pitched 3 innings, walked 3, struck out 6, and did not allow a hit.
Could the Red Sox get someone like 21 year old Keston Hiura added to the haul? That might make it worth it. Hiura plays 2nd Base, and had a particularly impressive Arizona Fall League Performance: .320 batting average with a .911 OPS. He hit .272/.755 over High A and Double A ball last year. Dustin Pedroia isn’t getting any younger.
Who knows, the Brewers may feel they owe Dombrowski for that Tyler Thornburg/Travis ‘Mayor of Ding Dong City’ Shaw trade from 2016, and include more in a deal. Either way, trading Xander Bogaerts would be no easy deal. He hit 4th for the majority of the year one of the greatest Red Sox team of all time. However, the Luxury Tax bill is coming due. Something has to give, sooner or later.