Xander Bogaerts to the Mets? Not so fast
With reports emerging that the Red Sox have signed both Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval, some are theorizing that shortstop Xander Bogaerts could be made available via trade. Bogaerts might be made available, but it hasn’t happened yet…
While Hanley Ramirez is a natural shortstop, most – including Ramirez himself – realize that a shift off that position is necessary. According to Buster Olney, the plan is for Ramirez to play left field in Boston. With Sandoval reportedly on board and set to play third base, there is no reason for the Red Sox to be desperate to deal Bogaerts, who has no one in his way at shortstop.
However, as Ken Rosenthal mentioned on the MLB Network early on Monday, what happens if Ramirez doesn’t acclimate well to left field? What happens if he simply doesn’t like it out there?
With David Ortiz entrenched as Boston’s DH, Sandoval at third base, and Dustin Pedroia at second base, an unhappy Ramirez would have only one spot to go: back to shortstop.
Aside from the above, the Red Sox already had an outfield glut before signing Ramirez. Adding him to the equation would make things even more complicated, and may put them at a disadvantage when attempting to get proper value back for some of their outfielders via trade.
Perhaps Boston wants to act preemptively to eliminate any potentially ugly situation with Ramirez, Bogaerts, and shortstop from materializing. Perhaps the Red Sox realize their outfield is too crowded to add Ramirez to the mix. Perhaps the Red Sox see this as a chance to address their starting pitching needs. If so, what might it take for the Mets to acquire Bogaerts?
Joel Sherman of the New York Post speculated that the Mets might have to part with either Zack Wheeler or Jacob deGrom if they wanted to acquire Bogaerts.
So, would Bogaerts be worth it?
At present, the Mets have Wilmer Flores slated to get a chance at shortstop in 2015. While Flores has solid offensive potential, many are failing to note while making their comparisons of Flores and ‘Player X’ that Flores is not viewed as someone who can play average defense at shortstop. That is an enormous part of the equation.
Here’s a scouting report on Bogaerts from Baseball Prospectus:
"Bogaerts generates very easy bat speed, enhanced by his ability to keep his hands back during his stride and unfold from a balanced base. There’s some length in the swing, but the righty has the loose hands to stay inside of the baseball and barrel pitches up in multiple spots, and he routinely drives the ball with backspin to all fields. I see Bogaerts’ game power with a strong chance to approach an output of 30 home runs annually, possibly higher in a peak season. There’s plenty of leverage in the swing and explosiveness through the hitting zone."
As far as Bogaerts’ defense, BP views him as having average to slightly above average range. Translation? For now, he profiles as a solid defensive shortstop.
In his brief taste of the majors, the 22-year-old Bogaerts hasn’t yet set himself apart. However, If Bogaerts reaches his ceiling or comes close to it, he’s a player who could be among the most valuable in baseball on a yearly basis. Frankly, Wilmer Flores doesn’t come close to that profile.
If Bogaerts is made available, there will likely be teams banging down Boston’s door for him. With their stable of young pitching, the Mets have what it takes to make a deal happen. The question is whether or not that possibility ever emerges.