Report: Arizona Diamondbacks have expressed interest in free agent shortstop Xander Bogaerts
The Arizona Diamondbacks are one of a handful of teams interested in free agent shortstop Xander Bogaerts, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan on Wednesday.
Xander Bogaerts should do very well, whether it’s in Boston for the rest of his career or with a new team — Philadelphia, Chicago, Arizona and Los Angeles all are interested.
It is HIGHLY unlikely the Dbacks will make a play on Bogaerts – the cost will be too high. Arizona is increasing payroll for this season but too many needs to spend that money on one guy – You can take him off your list. https://t.co/9TKOLkzj4C
— John Gambadoro (@Gambo987) November 30, 2022
The 30-year-old is a free agent for the first time after spending a decade with the Boston Red Sox. In that time, he slashed .292/.356/.458 with 156 home runs, 308 doubles and 34.2 wins above replacement on FanGraphs (fWAR).
In 2022, he posted a career-high 6.1 fWAR despite his worst power output since 2017. Overall, he slashed .307/.377/.456.
However, the knock on Bogaerts is his glove at shortstop. While he flourished in 2022 with four defensive runs saved, he’s still at -51 for his career.
Between 2014 and 2021, he was last among 23 shortstops with -55 DRS.
His track record as a negative defender leads to speculation of a position change in the future. However, Bogaerts’ agent Scott Boras put to bed that speculation by saying, “Xander is playing shortstop.”
Does he make sense for the D-backs?
Top infield prospect Jordan Lawlar has an MLB ETA of 2024 and will likely open 2023 in Double-A Amarillo.
After sputtering there in 20 games last season, he rebounded in the Arizona Fall League, slashing .278/.469/.528 in 11 games before getting injured.
Regardless, there’s reasonable doubt that Lawlar plays in the majors in 2023. As a result, Geraldo Perdomo and Nick Ahmed stand together as the two big-league shortstops on the D-backs.
However, Ahmed played just 17 games last season because of a shoulder injury and Perdomo struggled offensively.
Bogaerts provides much more stability at the position and has championship experience. He also has familiarity with GM Mike Hazen, who spent time in the Red Sox front office.
The shortstop can serve as a mentor for the young players, Lawlar included, and set an example for the MLB standard of play.
There’s risk involved in signing anybody to a long-term deal, especially someone who’s already 30. However, adding a veteran like Bogaerts, who still figures to be a great hitter, could be beneficial to a team with so much youth like the D-backs.