Stop it: Xander Bogaerts is not movable

(Photo: Winslow Townson / AP)

So you want to trade Xander Bogaerts? STOP IT: your opinion is wrong.

With all the speculation surrounding what the Red Sox could be doing to reshape the club this offseason, it’s clear that some of the attempts at cutting cash could involve pieces of the team that were once seemingly untouchable. After J.D. Martinez opted in to his contract for the upcoming season, the spotlight didn’t just surround Mookie Betts; it also shed a bit on the the other two Sox clients of Scott Boras, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Xander Bogaerts.

With the Sox not ruling out any ideas, as crazy as they may sound, all names seem to be fair game in discussions of shipping out of Boston — including the guy who just finished fifth in American League MVP voting. Writers and executives have thrown in Xander Bogaerts into “trade talks.” The logic? He could be paired with a high-leverage contract to get a high prospect return from a team that needs an elite shortstop. You’re actually considering this possibility? Stop. It’s never going to happen. It shouldn’t happen. Here’s why.

Xander Bogaerts is irreplaceable.

In what was a disappointing year for World Series champion Dave Dombrowski, his best move of the year came in April when he signed Bogaerts to a huge extension to stay in Boston for the majority of his prime.

What happened after Bogaerts got his payday is something not many can appreciate thoroughly. Since the Sox gave him the vote of confidence with cash, all Bogaerts did was put up the best overall season of anybody on the roster, putting up MVP numbers with the bat and patrolling a solid defensive infield for 155 games. One can make a strong case that Marcus Semien’s spot in the MVP finalist ballot should have belonged to Bogaerts.

Xander Bogaerts is a captain.

Trade him? What the Sox should be doing is ordering a C patch and stitching it onto Bogaerts’ jerseys. Making bank overnight is a shake-up for a young player. Getting it off the heels of a championship transitioning info a future could be straight-up scary. Instead of complacence, Bogaerts responded to his franchise by upping his game on the diamond but more importantly as a mentor in the clubhouse.

For the first time in his career, Bogaerts was sent the message to be the veteran for the youth. Once under the tutelage of Big Papi and Dustin Pedroia, Bogaerts could very well be the next Boston legend that makes everybody around him better. He put his leadership at full display this year, not just in the dugout with Rafael Devers, Eduardo Rodriguez, and others, but also everywhere else. After every Red Sox loss, who stood in front of his locker with his head up high owning up to disappointment and taking responsibility for failure that wasn’t even his fault? Xander Bogaerts. Who said they could be doing more at cutting out mistakes when the Red Sox were proving they weren’t their 2018 selves? Yeah, MVP candidate Xander Bogaerts. Talent comes and goes in this sport. Leadership and responsibility coupled with courage and fortitude in an environment where the odds are against you are premiums in 2019.

Xander Bogaerts is (still) underrated.

Remember when he almost got snubbed of an all-star spot? LOL.

Fifth in MVP voting and still underrated? In an era that is loaded with talent at SS, Bogaerts continues to be ignored in the conversation of best in the game. It’s perhaps easy to be overlooked when Francisco Lindor, Carlos Correa, Javier Baez, Jorge Polanco, Trea Turner, Corey Seager, Elvis Andrus, Dansby Swanson, and Jean Segura all play your position. That doesn’t mean Bogaerts isn’t better than all of them. One of the most consistent hitters in all of baseball this year, Bogaerts has performed in every possible situation imaginable. Only to add to his persona, he is clutch, most recently corroborated by a league-top-3 win probability added in 2019. This should come as no surprise to avid followers of the Sox prospects in 2013, when Bogaerts took the postseason by storm.

You want championships in the 21st century? You need an elite shortstop. Whether it be prime Alcides Escobar leading off for the Royals in their parade run or Trea Turner recovering from a broken hand to be one of the most electric players in baseball last month or Xander Bogaerts being impeccable in 2018, when teams have had concerns to deal with while winning a championship, the SS position has not been one of them. It’s simple: it’s tough to trade an elite player. It’s bad to trade one at shortstop position if the return is not clearly better if you want to be competitive. A possible return would not match all the attributes that Xander Bogaerts gives the Red Sox.

It’s fine if the league keeps sleeping on Boston’s next big thing. As long as Alex Cora and the Red Sox organization don’t. X needs to play in a Red Sox uniform in 2020, and the year after that, and after that, until he retires.

Follow the author at @AhaanRungta and read more here.