Over the winter, the San Diego Padres were looking to make a big splash in free agency to join their already stacked lineup. They went after Aaron Judge and Trea Turner, but both players decided to pass on the Padres. Judge returned to the New York Yankees and Turner signed with the Philadelphia Phillies.
After missing out on both players, San Diego turned toward shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who the Boston Red Sox were not willing to lock up as part of their future on the left side of the infield with Rafael Devers. Boston’s hesitation was all the Padres needed as they signed him to an eight-year, $280 million contract that averages out to $25.5 million a season.
Decision by San Diego Padres to sign Xander Bogaerts is already paying off
It’s just six games into the 2023 season, but Bogaerts is already making a big impact in the middle of the Padres order. Batting cleanup in his 11th season in the majors, the 2013 and 2018 World Series champion in Boston is hitting .409 with three doubles, three home runs, five runs scored and seven RBI, while slugging .955.
His first home run of the season was on April 1 against the Colorado Rockies when he homered off of José Ureña in the first inning of an 8-4 San Diego victory. One day later, he went deep off of Colorado’s Austin Gomber in the third inning of a 3-1 Padres win.
Bogaerts stayed hot early in the season with a two-run home run off Zac Gallen of the Arizona Diamondbacks in a disappointing 8-6 loss Tuesday. For the game, the slick-fielding middle infielder went 2-for-4 with two RBI.
After their first six games, San Diego is .500 and will only get better as the season progresses. They have a lineup that is one of the best in MLB with Trent Grisham, Juan Soto and Manny Machado setting the table ahead of Xander Bogaerts.
Not only is Bogaerts one of the top-hitting shortstops in the game, but he is also one of the top defensive shortstops. He entered his first season in Southern California with a .979 fielding percentage. He can not only hit it, but he can flash the leather defensively too.
San Diego is one of the favorites to come out of the National League in October and play in the World Series. Last season they got close, losing to the Philadelphia Phillies in five games in the NLCS, but they have gone out and got more pop for their lineup. They also have Nelson Cruz, who belted his first home run of 2023 against Arizona Tuesday, and utility man Matt Carpenter, who hit .305 in 47 games last season for the Yankees.
San Diego is a disappointing 3-3 through their first six games, but the season is very young. Bogaerts has been a big bright spot for the Padres and will only get better as the season goes along. San Diego’s gain is Boston’s loss and nobody should be surprised by the former American League All-Star’s start with his new club.