Over at ESPN (Insider only), Jeff Passan reports that the Diamondbacks are among the teams interested in shortstop Xander Bogaerts. He’s one among what’s quite a deep class of free agents at the position, which also includes Trea Turner, Carlos Correa and some guy called Dansby Swanson, about whom I know nothing. There’s no doubt that Bogaerts, or any of these, would represent a significant upgrade at shortstop. He was worth 5.8 bWAR last year, while Arizona’s most regular starter at the position, Geraldo Perdomo, put up just 0.7 bWAR. However, there are a few reasons this feels more like the D-backs simply doing due diligence and kicking the tires on the free-agent.
It appears the Diamondbacks already have a well-paid shortstop under contract for 2023, with Ahmed currently on the books for $10.4 million. It seems quite unlikely he’ll be going anywhere. Nick played only seventeen games last year, before undergoing season-ending surgery on his right shoulder. No team is going to take him on at that salary before he has proven he’s healthy, never mind that he’s worth it. Now, there has been discussion at to whether Bogaerts might move to another position. For Arizona, 2B would be most likely, with Ketel Marte becoming a DH. However, Bogaert’s agent Scott Boras has, at best, been sending out mixed messages about that possibility.
Even after Ahmed becomes a free agent at the end of next year, Arizona would seem to have a long-term solution waiting in the wings. Lawlar is their top prospect and the #12 in all baseball according to MLB.com, who state “there’s no doubt he’ll stick at shortstop.” While next year might be a little too soon for Lawlar to be expected to take over as the everyday player at that position, he should definitely be ready for the 2024 season. He’s exactly the sort of difference maker you do not want to be blocked by a long-term contract. Moving Jordan to another spot would feel like a failure to make optimal use of the prospect’s undeniable talents.
189 million reasons
MLB Trade Rumors currently project Bogaerts will get a $189m/7 year contract in free-agency. Most estimates think that Mike Hazen has $15m, or at most $20m in payroll to play with this winter. Signing Xander would blow past that by itself, and would also severely hamper other attempts to improve the team on the open market. There are areas that need to be addressed, most obviously the bullpen, but also backup catcher, perhaps third base, etc. While trades may bring some people on board, they will still need to be paid. We saw with the signing of Zack Greinke, that signing one big contract won’t fix a team. Nor will signing Bogaerts, unless it’s the start of a very significant expansion of payroll in Arizona.
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
I tend to agree. It may be the first big rumor of the off-season connecting Arizona to any player, but for now, I’m discounting it as no more than idle chatter. But I’ll leave you with this other Gambo tweet.
Diamondbacks are zeroing in on some bullpen additions - I would expect some news on that front very soon possibly before winter meetings next week.— John Gambadoro (@Gambo987) November 30, 2022