Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts, top, turns a game-ending double play against Baltimore last week at Fenway Park in Boston. Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

The 2022 Boston Red Sox season will come to a merciful end on Wednesday evening. With a long-disappointing run behind it, the team’s front office should immediately jump into action taking care of the team’s most important offseason assignment: signing Xander Bogaerts.

Technically, Bogaerts is signed through the 2025 season. But as we all know he has a clause that allows him to opt out of the remaining three years of the deal. And there’s no doubt he will do just that. The Red Sox could wait for their shortstop and de facto captain to exercise his option, but they shouldn’t.

Rather, Chaim Bloom should take advantage of this period to get a head start on any potential competition for Bogaerts. Bloom doesn’t need to wait for Bogaerts to file for free agency, they can immediately offer him a new deal and try to lock him up for years to come.

It seems pretty clear the Red Sox want him back. Manager Alex Cora has said it repeatedly in recent weeks. Team President Sam Kennedy has told me time and again that Bogaerts is the type of player he wants to build the Red Sox around.

And Bloom, the man in charge of building next year’s roster, appeared on WEEI’s “Bradfo Sho” podcast last week and gave every indication he wants him back.

“He is the type of guy you want to have here for a long time,” Bloom told host Rob Bradford. “That you want to have here hopefully for his whole career.”


To keep him here, it will take money. Lots of it. Bogaerts bet on himself when he turned down a one-year extension to his deal prior to the season and it has paid off. He returned from Toronto on Sunday night with a .305 batting average, the highest of any American League shortstop.

Bogaerts is also having one of his best defensive seasons. He ranks second among AL shortstops in ultimate zone rating and is tied for fourth in outs above average. Both are the highest of his career.

He turned 30 on Saturday. That’s when many players turn the corner and begin to fade. Yet Bogaerts has shown no signs of that. In fact, he seems to be going in the opposite direction.

More importantly, the Red Sox need to make a statement after a miserable last-place season. It’s the fifth time they’ve finished in the basement in the last 11 years. Sox fans are restless, and want an indication that there are better times coming.

A quick resolution to the drama surrounding Bogaerts would be a great message to send those fans. It would also be a message that would be well received within the Red Sox clubhouse. Rafael Devers, the best hitter on the team and only 25, will be entering the final year of his contract next season and looks up to Bogaerts as a mentor and friend.

You don’t need to keep Bogaerts to keep Devers. You need to keep Bogaerts to change the narrative that began when the Sox traded away Mookie Betts before the 2020 season. That’s when fans started to question whether or not the Red Sox were willing to pay top dollar to keep their top players.

Bogaerts grew up idolizing Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter. The idea of playing shortstop for one team through his entire career has to appeal to him. He just needs to feel some love from that team.

After an icy spring, and a cold summer, Bogaerts and Sox fans everywhere would have a warm reaction to the signing of Bogaerts. And getting that signing done early should make the rest of the offseason a lot easier to navigate.

Tom Caron is a studio host for the Red Sox broadcast on NESN. His column appears in the Portland Press Herald on Tuesdays.

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