Dombrowski: Contract Talks Are Done
By Jason Mastrodonato
OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Xander Bogaerts contract extension may have seemed like a surprise.
To Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, it was a surprise.
He made it clear a week before Opening Day that the Sox would not continue contract negotiations into the season. At that time, negotiations with Bogaerts’ agent, Scott Boras, were ongoing, but Dombrowski was not optimistic.
But Dombrowski bent his rule slightly, extending the team’s negotiations with Bogaerts into Opening Day last Thursday only because Dombrowski felt like the deal was so close to being finished that it would be done before the end Opening Day, which it was, though the final details weren’t set in stone and the contract not signed until Monday.
“We really didn’t bend it very much because it started Opening Day, the negotiations,” Dombrowski said. “They were still taking place during Chris Sale’s press conference. I didn’t think we’d get this deal done. It started coming into focus a couple days beforehand. So, we had basically said Opening Day it would be done. We did close it off Opening Day. It was Opening Night. We played the game. Then it was getting the physical done, then we had to wait to get the physical results back because we were on the West Coast.”
Going forward, however, the Red Sox are done with contract extensions for the time being, Dombrowski told the Herald.
Asked if he was certain the Sox would not entertain any other contract negotiations during the season -- Rick Porcello is among the free agents at season’s end and J.D. Martinez can choose to opt out -- Dombrowski was firm.
“No, I am pretty certain,” he told the Herald. “We have no ongoing conversations.”
That leaves Bogaerts’ extension as the final contract the Red Sox will negotiate until next offseason.
“There’s a reason behind (closing off negotiations during the season),” Dombrowski said. “It’s not like you’re setting the deadline to be like, ‘Oh gosh, I have to be a hard guy in that regard.’ I think contract negotiations can be a distraction for the players and when we start playing, we want focus to be on the field. So if we had not made progress at that point, at some point we would’ve had to say, ‘we’ll see what happens at the end of the year.’ I think that’s why it’s really important to set that deadline.
“There have been times, not here but in other places, where an agent calls and I have the same philosophy but he says, ‘This guy really wants to stay, he’s willing to do this.’ And it’s really not very much a distraction because he outlines exactly what you had offered. But really the reason is, when we get to the season we want to be focused on what happens on the field.”