Padres add superstar shortstop Xander Bogaerts

Jun 8, 2022; Anaheim, California, USA; Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts (2) singles in the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

After the San Diego Padres came up agonizingly short in the bidding wars for Aaron Judge and Trea Turner, general manager A.J. Preller finally landed his prize fish. Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts is coming to San Diego on an 11-year deal worth $280 million. 

Bogaerts has been in the majors since 2013, having been a full time player since 2014.

He’s a four time All-Star, but he’s made each of the last three All-Star games (‘19, ‘21, ‘22). He’s had an OPS of at least .800 for the last five seasons while receiving MVP votes in the process. He will be a huge addition to a lineup that struggled for hits last season, having hit over .300 in three out of his last four seasons.  He’s put up at least a 128 OPS+ in his last five years, meaning his worst season since 2018 would’ve been good enough for second-best among the 2022 Padres. 

He’s not a tremendous power hitter, going deep only 15 times last season. However, he’s an extra-base machine, as he’s racked up 72 doubles throughout his last two campaigns.

His lifetime .458 slugging percentage will be a game-changer towards the top of the Padres lineup. That ability to get into scoring position often could mean that he sets the table for players like Juan Soto and Manny Machado for a lot of the season. That was something that the Padres desperately needed last year, so that could be transformative for the team.

Bogaerts is also extremely healthy, having played 135 or more games in every season since 2014 (except 2020). He’s got playoff experience as well, having won two titles with the Red Sox, playing a major role in the 2018 season. He’s got five postseason home runs in 44 games, so he’s shown an ability to perform when the lights shine the brightest. 

The shortstop has put up at least 4.9 WAR in each of the last four full seasons, including 5.8 WAR last year. If Tatis Jr. can put up statistics similar to his 2021 season in 2022, the Padres will have already added 13 WAR to a team that went to the NLCS last year. Preller has decided that now is the time to strike, and he’s going to go all in to do it. San Diego’s going to have superstars in Manny Machado, Juan Soto, Tatis, and Bogaerts, to go along with a talented group of role players. They’ll have a very real chance at the franchises’ first 100-win season and, more importantly, at their first World Series.

Bogaerts is 30 years old, so his 11-year contract will take him all the way through his age 41 season. As he ages, he’ll likely need to shift away from shortstop, though he’s expected to play there in 2023. That sends Fernando Tatis Jr. into the outfield while tentatively putting Ha-Seong Kim on second and Jake Cronenworth at first. However, with the wild nature of A.J. Preller, anything could happen over the rest of the winter.

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Peter Seidler and Preller have shown a willingness to spend. They certainly could chase down Carlos Rodon, who is viewed as the best pitcher still available. The large contract may make it difficult for San Diego to lock down an extension for Juan Soto, but it’s unclear just how much Siedler is willing to put into building a winner.

The acquisition is a massive one, and it’s clear that San Diego is attempting to build their Death Star. If it works, they could win multiple titles and begin a dynasty. If it doesn’t, they’ll head into the 2030s with aging stars who are paid bloated salaries. Preller’s putting all of Seidler’s money on black. The people of San Diego will wait until October to see where the ball lands.

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