Xander Bogaerts takes subtle shot at Boston Red Sox in introductory press conference

Xander Bogaerts

Xander Bogaerts landed with the San Diego Padres, becoming one of the latest top MLB free agents to leave his former team for a massive contract. While he leaves the Boston Red Sox on relatively good terms, the All-Star shortstop seemed to hint at how contract talks with his former team went.

Bogaerts originally wanted to remain in Boston, having his agent engage in talks before Opening Day 2022 on a long-term extension. However, Boston’s offer to him came woefully short and some within the organization even felt it was a lowball proposal.

Playing out a contract year, the All-Star shortstop improved defensively to become one of the most well-rounded infielders in MLB. It further increased his value in free agency, with numerous playoff contenders pursuing him.

Related: MLB exec rips Boston Red Sox for big signing

While the Red Sox were reportedly at one point in “heavy negotiations” with Bogaerts, the two sides could never agree on a deal. According to Alex Speier of the Boston Globe, Boston offered him a six-year deal worth around $160 million. It fell well short of the 11-year, $280 million deal he signed with the Padres.

During his introductory press conference in San Diego, Bogaerts thanked the Padres for being “straightforward” with him in contract negotiations.

It’s not the only comment Bogaerts made regarding the Red Sox. When asked about his time in Boston and what led him to San Diego, the five-time Silver Slugger Award recipient hinted at what separates the Padres and Red Sox.

“It was a great run. This is definitely a different challenge. This team really wants to win and you can see how close it is.”

Xander Bogaerts on leaving the Boston Red Sox, signing with San Diego Padres

Bogaerts’ decision comes at a time when the Red Sox’ organization is already under intense scrutiny more than a year after it traded outfielder Mookie Betts when contract talks broke down. There are also concerns that All-Star third baseman Rafael Devers, one of the top free agents next winter, could depart.

  • Xander Bogaerts contract: $25 million AAV, $5 million signing bonus

Related: Boston Red Sox in mix to acquire Gold Glove defender

According to Spotrac, the Red Sox 2023 payroll as of now is just $88.495 million. While there are a few impact bats and starting pitchers available in free agency, Boston isn’t anywhere close to the level of payroll expected from a postseason contender.

Coming off a 2022 season that saw Boston finish last in the AL East and 10th in the American League, pressure is mounting on ownership and the front office. Based on the worsening reputation of the current regime among players, it might make things even more challenging moving forward.

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