The Xander Bogaerts market has trended in the wrong direction for the Boston Red Sox, who should have known better than to let a star player at a premium position hit free agency.
While it's not too late to retain the 30-year-old shortstop, they will now be tasked with outbidding a good portion of their Major League Baseball opponents, including some with very deep pockets.
The Philadelphia Phillies, Red Sox and San Diego Padres have been previously reported as the three teams most interested in Bogaerts. The Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs and Minnesota Twins have joined the sweepstakes as well according to Red Sox beat writer Marino Pepén on Sunday.
He also mentioned that the St. Louis Cardinals have inquired but have yet to offer a contract or show meaningful interest.
Pepén claims that Bogaerts is the top shortstop on the market, over some heavy hitters such as Carlos Correa, Trea Turner and Dansby Swanson.
The last time Pepén tweeted about Bogaerts, he ranked the interested teams in order, and started with the same trio he mentioned Sunday. If this list is in order, it would put Boston above the majority of the pack, but still trialing the National League champion Phillies. Regardless, a seven-team race is going to shift drastically on a near-daily basis, so a ranking of any kind would be quite unreliable.
Bogaerts' widespread interest could severely impact the Red Sox's chances of re-acquiring their unofficial captain of the team.
With each new team joining the sweepstakes, it makes Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and company look worse and worse. They spent the entire 2022 season swearing that they would love to have the 30-year-old slugger back in Boston next season.
There was ample time to do so, and now his market appears to be heating up to the point where they could be outbid. His price tag almost certainly is higher than it would have been had they just paid up last offseason.
We'll see if the Red Sox can retain Bogaerts, but the writing on the wall is bleak.