MLB Breaking News: Xander Bogaerts Signs With San Diego Padres in 2023 MLB Free Agency
Published: Dec 08, 2022
Updated: Dec 08, 2022
Once Trea Turner signed his long-term deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, it was inevitable that the dominos would start to fall at a very deep shortstop position. Shortstop was arguably the most loaded position in this free agency class, and the San Diego Padres got one of the best in Bogaerts. He may not be an elite slugger at the position by any means, and his name value may carry more weight than his fantasy baseball value for the 2023 season, but he hits for a good average and will serve as a consistent presence in what figures to be a star-studded lineup in San Diego. How does Bogaerts’ lengthy deal impact other shortstops in 2023 MLB Free Agency, and what happens to Bogaerts’ fantasy value with his new club? What will the Boston Red Sox do now at the shortstop position? Let’s break down this Major League Baseball breaking news and what it looks like for the 2023 fantasy baseball season.
What is Xander Bogaerts’ 2023 Fantasy Baseball Value?
His power has fluctuated over the years, and that has really proven to be the biggest swing in his overall fantasy value. Back in 2019 he hit a career high 33 home runs, and he was on a similar pace in the shortened 2020 season. However, he’s hit just 38 home runs over his last two full seasons, including just 15 this past year. I don’t love that his barrel rate was at just 6.5 percent this past season, his lowest since 2017, and how much longer can he continue to significantly outproduce his xBA?
He’s taking a bit of a hit in terms of his home park, but it’s hard to argue the lineup that he’s now joining. Bogaerts’ supporting cast in Boston was no joke, but there’s a very real chance that opposing pitchers will have to face Juan Soto, Manny Machado, Bogaerts, and Fernando Tatis Jr. (upon return from suspension) consecutively. Bogaerts is going to get pitches to hit, and the optimist in me says his counting stats will look closer to what they were in 2019 (110 R, 117 RBI), compared to 2022 (84 R, 73 RBI).
At the end of the day, he’s the same player for fantasy purposes, but how high he ranks comes down to what type of power output he puts out. You can bank on a .290-.300 average for the veteran shortstop with 4-8 stolen bases, but where does that home run total end up? That’s the big question. I think a safe projection for Bogaerts in 2023 looks like 20-25 home runs, on top of the aforementioned numbers, and he has a very real chance to get to 100+ runs and RBI.
How Does Xander Bogaerts Signing Impact the San Diego Padres?
San Diego’s “Big 3” coming into 2023 of Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Juan Soto was already putting fear into opposing pitchers. They’ve been linked to a couple of other studs this offseason, and while it may not have been Aaron Judge or Trea Turner, Bogaerts will turn this “Big 3” into a “Big 4.” The lineup depth can be called into question, as the team’s bench looks quite weak, but nearly half of your lineup is perennial All-Stars, and the pitching staff is excellent as well. The Padres won’t be able to keep all of these guys, and to me, this always makes it seem like San Diego believes that they won’t be retaining the services of Machado (can opt out after 2023) or Soto (FA after 2024). Additionally, the Padres were in on Turner, and now they get Bogaerts, so they wanted a shortstop pretty bad it seems. Could this be because they want to keep Tatis Jr. in the outfield to try and preserve his health?
This is something to monitor down the line, but for 2023, San Diego has made a conscious and active effort to stack their lineup with studs, in hopes of getting over the hump.
How Does Xander Bogaerts’ Signing Impact the Boston Red Sox?
Based on what Boston did last year, there is an in-house candidate that can slide right into the empty void at shortstop. Sure, the Red Sox have Jeter Downs, but Trevor Story figures to be the everyday shortstop for Boston in 2023. Story is locked in for a handful of years, so with Bogaerts’ departure, Story will slide over to shortstop, and Christian Arroyo and Downs can fight for the second base spot. However, Downs’ 14 game stint in the majors last year may give Boston some pause for making him a regular player to begin 2023 (.145 AVG, 51.2 K%).
How Does Xander Bogaerts’ Signing Impact Other Free Agent Shortstops?
His signing thins the market a bit more, but it may not be long until the next shortstop signs. At this point, the two best players available at the position are Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson. The Chicago Cubs and Minnesota Twins seem to be the most active in the shortstop market, and shopping at the top of the position looks a whole lot better than some of the value options, a la Elvis Andrus, José Iglesias, etc.
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