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Xander Bogaerts Rumors Swirl as Winter Meetings Begin

Xander Bogaerts of the Boston Red Sox running the bases against the Baltimore Orioles on April 23, 2017

MLB’s Winter Meetings opened on Sunday for the first in-person version of the event since 2019.

A major deal at the gathering of baseball bigwigs would answer Chicago Cubs fans’ questions about the team’s intent to compete for a division pennant in 2023. Several top free-agent shortstops are available this winter, and the Cubs are expected to be serious suitors for one or more of these players. Heading into the weekend, fans heard the Cubs were looking into signing the reigning Gold Glove winner Dansby Swanson.

Boston Red Sox analyst Marino Pepén reported on Sunday that the Cubs were “very interested” in Xander Bogaerts and an offer was expected in the coming hours.

This will be anxiety-inducing news for Boston fans, as beat writer Pete Abraham writes that the Red Sox have yet to produce a competitive offer to retain Bogaerts’ services.

If the Cubs are looking to upgrade their offense at the shortstop position, the five-time Silver Slugger winner Bogaerts would certainly be the better choice. FanGraphs writer Ben Clemons lists him as the #6 free agent of the 2023 class. His crowdsourcing projects Bogaerts’ median free-agent deal at six years and $168 million.

I am skeptical about whether the Cubs are willing to make this type of commitment to a 30-year-old when 25-year-old Nico Hoerner has played elite defense with above-average offensive production over a full season (107 OPS+ in 135 games). Clemons notes Bogaerts will likely shift to third base in the near future, which is also a position where the Northsiders could use consistency.

The 2022 Winter Meetings will run until Wednesday, December 7. There will be several days for potential deals before the “unofficial end” of the event, Wednesday’s Rule 5 draft.

Featured Image: Xander Bogaerts of the Boston Red Sox running the bases against the Baltimore Orioles on April 23, 2017 by Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.