The Red Sox are in a prime position to make another run at the World Series next season. But if they want to build a perennial contender, they will need to lock up some of their young stars right away. Here are three extensions the Red Sox need to make happen this offseason.
3. Jackie Bradley Jr.
Jackie Bradley Jr. has some of the slickest moves and nastiest arms among center fielders in the majors. If it wasn't for Kevin Kiermaier stealing the show in Tampa Bay every season, JBJ would be taking home the Gold Glove hardware. Say what you will about his spotty bat, but Jackie is a cornerstone of this Red Sox team and needs to be considered a priority in their offseason to-do list. Like Bogaerts, JBJ is entering an arbitration-eligible year and it'd be smart if the Red Sox did themselves a favor and took care of the rest of his arbitration years.
2. Xander Bogaerts
Star shortstop Xander Bogaerts will be entering his first year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. If the Sox want to stay atop the AL East as contenders for the near future, Bogaerts has to be a priority. He will undoubtedly be up for an incredible raise, light years away from what he makes in his rookie contract, but the Red Sox can probably save themselves money by locking him up now. The Sox will want to avoid letting Bogey slip away from them. In order to do that, the time is now to keep him in town long term.
1. Mookie Betts
If you ask baseball fans across the country who the game's next big rising star is, they would most likely give you one name: Mookie Betts. Boston's right fielder had high expectations put on him at the start of last season. He lived up to them and did more. Mookie was voted an All-Star, batted .318/.363/.534/.897 over 672 at bats, hit 31 home runs, won a Gold Glove, led the AL in practically every major batting statistic, torched Camden Yards every time he played there, and is a contender to win the AL MVP. Mookie is arbitration-eligible in 2018. He's the real deal and getting him on board for the next 6-plus years has to be the Red Sox' No. 1 priority. It's definitely not too early to make it happen.