Tomase: Why this John Henry quote about Bogaerts is infuriating


John Henry weighed in on the state of the Red Sox with the trade deadline three weeks away, and one quote caught my eye, not to mention my ire.

When asked by Alex Speier of The Boston Globe about reaching contract extensions with Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers, Henry sounded a familiar refrain.

“It takes two to make a deal,” he said. “I think it’s clear both of them want to be here. We want them here. We made efforts in the past to try to sign players that we weren’t able to sign.

“It’s not 100 percent our fault when we don’t end up signing a player. We’ve signed players where it’s really worked out. We’ve signed others that, it’s our job to try to sign the right players. Frankly, over the last 20 years, we haven’t done it [every time], so we’ve had to break teams up.

“The key thing I think with a long-term deal is to make it with the right players. For us at this point, both Raffy and Xander are two players we would love to have. In Xander’s case, it could be till the end of his career. But players have rights and you have to respect that.”

Tomase: Would Red Sox really trade a core player? Don’t rule it out

For Henry to say it takes two to make a deal is pretty rich considering the unilateral nature of their lowball offer to Bogaerts this spring. As a reminder, with the shortstop market exploding to tune of $300-plus million contracts for Fernando Tatis Jr., Corey Seager, and Francisco Lindor, the Red Sox reportedly offered Bogaerts what amounted to a one-year, $30 million extension that was consistently mischaracterized as four years and $90 million. Honoring the three years and $60 million remaining on his current deal, provided he doesn’t opt out in the fall, doesn’t count!

 

Even in the context of millionaire athletes making more money than the rest of us can fathom, the offer was insulting, and that’s before considering everything Bogaerts has meant to the franchise since arriving in 2013 at age 20 and immediately contributing to a championship. It’s almost as if the Red Sox hoped to exploit his desire to stay.

The fact that Bogaerts didn’t end negotiations on the spot demonstrates his loyalty to the organization. If he leaves, it won’t be a Mookie Betts situation, where the Red Sox offered over $300 million and Betts just happened to want a lot more, which he eventually got from the Dodgers. Ownership extended itself on that one.

But since Chaim Bloom took control of baseball operations with a mandate to slash spending, the Red Sox have operated in a much leaner fashion, their only big outlay a six-year, $140 million deal for second baseman Trevor Story that so far looks like a win for both sides, with Story playing Gold Glove defense and hitting for power, though not average.

If the Red Sox decide they don’t want Bogaerts because his defense is slipping at short and he’s in the midst of a power outage with his 30th birthday looming this fall, that’s a defensible position. Just don’t tell us that it’s about respecting his rights, because the only right he has exercised thus far is the one against getting (bleeped).

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