Red Sox

Xander Bogaerts remains Red Sox’ ‘first choice’ at shortstop, said Chaim Bloom

After Bogaerts opted out of his contract, Bloom said Boston wants the four-time All-Star back.

Barry Chin/Globe Staff
Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts ran the bases after his 3-run home run in the sixth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park Aug. 26.

For the first time in nearly a decade, Xander Bogaerts is no longer under contract with the Boston Red Sox.

But, even though the four-time All-Star shortstop opted out of his contract, he’s not necessarily gone for good just yet.

The opt-out means that the Red Sox have to compete with other teams in free agency. Bogaerts could still end up re-signing with Boston if both sides come to an agreement.

Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said bringing Bogaerts back remains a top priority, according to Alex Speier of The Boston Globe.

“[Bogaerts is] our first choice. That’s not going to change,” said Bloom. “Part of our jobs is to explore every option to field a contending team next year and put together a really good group. We need to explore every possible way to do that, but Bogey’s our first choice.”

Advertisement:

Bogaerts had three years left on a six-year, $120 million deal before he opted out.

Unable to reach an agreement on a restructured contract that would satisfy both sides, Bogarts decided to test the free agent market.

“It’s disappointing because Xander has been a credit to this organization every day that he’s been in it,” said Bloom. “We want him here. He makes us better. We respect his right to exercise [the opt-out] and to explore the market. We want him back and we will stay engaged with him.”

According to Speier, the Red Sox view Trevor Story and Kiké Hernandez as options at shortstop and may pursue other free agents if Bogaerts leaves.

But, those are backup plans, Bloom said.

“I should be clear about this,” Bloom said. “Generally speaking, the thought process is to look past somebody you’re really familiar with for somebody else who you might see as similar but a little shinier. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. We’ve seen that for years in many different cases. So like I said, finding common ground with Xander is our first choice.”

Conversation

This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on Boston.com