NEW YORK – Instead of a baseball game, what was seen Thursday at Yankee Stadium was a day of press conferences.
As the all-time leader of the Red Sox, it’s no surprise that Xander Bogaerts was the position player who represented his team in the press room.
Could this have been Bogaerts’ last Opening Day with Boston?
Bogaerts has an opt-out clause in his contract that would allow him to become a free agent after the 2022 season.
The veteran shortstop acknowledged that negotiations he had with the Red Sox over a contract extension went nowhere.
“They didn’t work out, but that’s in the past. I can’t think about that right now,” Bogaerts said. “It is so; I have to prepare for a season. Go out and take these guys to a good campaign.”
Bogaerts also made it clear that he doesn’t want the uncertainty of his contract to become a distraction for a team looking to compete in a tough AL East.
“Look, I can’t do anything right now,” Bogaerts said. “I have a season ahead of me and I don’t want to distract any of my teammates. They do not deserve it. They had time to get something done and it didn’t work out, so let’s focus on baseball. We had a great year last season. The expectations are high now and we have to finish the job.”
Although Bogaerts and the Red Sox agreed to an extension three years ago, which was announced just before Game 5 of the regular season, the Aruba native said that won’t happen this time.
Now that the season is underway, Bogaerts doesn’t want to focus on business, but on baseball.
Bogaerts signed a six-year, $120 million extension in 2019. Given the way the market has rewarded top shortstops since that signing, it shouldn’t be surprising if Bogaerts decides to stay in Boston.
The Red Sox have made public their intention to retain Bogaerts long-term.
Whether it happens or not, it’s something that will have to wait until November.
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Bogaerts focused on playing, not business