MLB.com reported shortly before 8 p.m. Wednesday that “the Winter Meetings have come to an end without a major Padres transaction.”
But, oh, how about 90 minutes later? That’s when MLB returned to the drawing board, citing a source that said the Padres had snagged one of the game’s top shortstops, Xander Bogaerts, signing him to a $280 million contract over 11 years.
ESPN quickly confirmed the report about the Red Sox free agent, who hit .307 with 15 homers and 73 RBIs in 2022, and also was a Gold Glove finalist at his position.
Bogaerts had a multi-year $120 million contract in Boston, but opted out last month. He’s a career .292 hitter who played his first full year in the big leagues in 2014.
Stars Aaron Judge and Trey Turner garnered the lion’s share of attention going into the Winter Meetings, held in San Diego from Monday through Wednesday, and the Padres, perhaps surprisingly, figured in the talks.
The team reportedly made major offers to both players – $400 million to the American League MVP, according to USA Today, and in excess of $341 million to Turner, a New York Post columnist posted on Twitter.
Early Wednesday, however, Judge opted to stay a Yankee, while Turner made the first big splash at the meetings, leaving the Dodgers, but choosing Philadelphia over San Diego.
Having a new shortstop, be it Bogaerts or Turner, cements what the Padres have been working toward – moving young star Fernando Tatis Jr. to the outfield upon his return from his PED suspension. Padres executive A.J. Preller told MLB.com the team remains in the hunt for pitching.
“We’ve got a real desire to win and do it for a long time,” he said, before the Bogaerts news broke. “That’s just part of our due diligence and part of our process.”