By Sarah Paley
Though there’s plenty left to be decided in the Phillies’ 2022 season, Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe writes that “the Phillies will be eager suitors” for Xander Bogaerts, provided that Bogaerts (as expected) opts out of his contract with the Red Sox.
Reports already surfaced in June that Philadelphia would be targeting the shortstop position this winter, with the Phils looking to make a splash in a free agent class that is expected to include the likes of Bogaerts, Trea Turner, Dansby Swanson, and Carlos Correa. Bogaerts and Correa are seen as virtual locks to exercise opt-out clauses, and Turner and Swanson are both scheduled to hit the open market (though Swanson and the Braves are exploring an extension).
Bogaerts’ talent makes him a natural target for any team that wants a big upgrade at shortstop, and the Phillies are perhaps an even more logical fit due to the past ties between Bogaerts and president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. After all, Dombrowski was Boston’s president of baseball operations when Bogaerts signed his current contract — a six-year, $120MM extension that included an opt-out clause following the current season. Bogaerts would be leaving three years and $60MM on the table to opt out, but is no doubt he’d easily top that number on the open market.
Of course, shortstop is not quite the problem position it was for the Phillies at the start of the season. After a very slow start in his rookie year, Bryson Stott has started to acclimate to the Show, hitting .305/.349/.488 with five home runs over his last 175 plate appearances. However, Stott has mostly split his time between second base and shortstop, with defensive metrics (albeit in a sample size of not even one full season) indicating that his glove plays better at second base. While Bogaerts’ own glovework at shortstop has been a question mark for years, he is currently enjoying the best defensive season of his career, with positive grades from the Outs Above Average, Defensive Runs Saved, and UZR/150 metrics.