Xander Bogaerts says Padres roster is ‘stacked, top to bottom’

SAN DIEGO — It didn’t take long for Xander Bogaerts to be asked if he expected to be the full-time shortstop for the San Diego Padres, even though the team already has two stalwarts at this post.

“I play in the field. I play shortstop,” Bogaerts said with a smile after donning a No. 2 white-striped jersey and maroon cap during a news conference Friday at Petco Park.

Bogaerts and the Padres finalized an 11-year, $280 million deal after the four-time All-Star passed his physical.

The deal with 30-year-old Bogaerts shows owner Peter Seidler’s willingness to keep spending big in a bid to win an elusive World Series title.

The Padres already have two shortstops on the roster, including Fernando Tatis Jr., who can return on April 20 after an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. The other is Ha-Seong Kim, who performed well replacing Tatis, an All-Star in 2021 who missed all of last season.

Bogaerts joins an already packed roster that includes third baseman Manny Machado and outfielder Juan Soto.

“The roster is so stacked, top to bottom, it’s unbelievable,” said Bogaerts, an Aruba native, who signed with the Boston Red Sox at 16 and helped them win the World Series in 2013 and 2018. “When they beat the Dodgers here, seeing how excited the fans were during the playoffs, it was fun to watch on TV.”

The Padres eliminated the New York Mets’ 101 wins in the wildcard round before beating National League West rival Los Angeles Dodgers with 111 wins in the Division Series. They lost the NL Championship Series to the Philadelphia Phillies in five games.

With the arrival of Bogaert, Tatis is expected to move to the outfield on his return, with Kim taking over at second base. All-Star second baseman Jake Cronenworth will likely move to first. Tatis was on the verge of returning from a broken left wrist when he was suspended by MLB on August 12. He then underwent surgery on his troublesome left shoulder as well as follow-up surgery on his wrist.

General manager AJ Preller said that when he spoke with Machado about Bogaerts’ arrival as another shortstop/infielder, the All-Star’s response was, “The more the merrier.”

After last season, Bogaerts opted out of his six-year, $120 million contract with Boston, forgoing a $20 million salary for each of the next three years after hitting .307 with 15 home runs and 73 RBIs in 150 matches.

“We were looking for that right fit, that right piece that will help us get past the peak,” Preller said. “When we met at the start of the week, he told me he was ‘hit baseball’. He’s a 24/7 guy on the game.”

Bogaerts is a career .292 hitter with 156 home runs and 683 RBI in 10 major league seasons — all with Boston.

He had his best season in 2019, batting .309 with a career-high 33 homers and 117 RBIs. He had 23 home runs and 103 RBIs in 2018.

In 44 playoff games, Bogaerts is a .231 hitter with five home runs and 16 RBIs.

The Padres gave Machado a 10-year, $300 million deal as a free agent in 2019 and signed Tatis to a 14-year, $340 million deal in 2021.

“This is a city heading for its first-ever world championship,” Seidler said. “I hope one day soon the baseball gods will smile upon our city.”

San Diego reached the World Series in 1984 and 1998 and was routed both times.

Earlier this week, the Padres failed in their efforts to sign free agents Trea Turner and Aaron Judge, despite what would have been more lucrative offers.

They’re pretty happy with the star they’ve signed.

“Having a guy like Xander isn’t just about numbers, it’s about character,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said. “He makes us better, so we’ll see where that takes us.”


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