All-Star third baseman Rafael Devers has agreed to an 11-year $330 million contract extension with the Red Sox, per reports by various league insiders.
The reported deal is the largest in team history and keeps the homegrown superstar in a Red Sox uniform for the next decade.
In his six years with the Red Sox, Devers has emerged as one of the league’s biggest stars. Devers has averaged .283 and hit 139 home runs in his time with Boston. He also leads the league in extra-base hits since 2019.
Red Sox ownership come through and pay Rafael Devers
The 26-year-old was set to hit free agency this coming offseason and had just reached an agreement to avoid arbitration with a one-year $17.5 million deal earlier today.
Former MLB All-Star turned news breaker Carlos Baerga first reported the extension.
This news comes amid intense scrutiny and criticism for the Red Sox top brass, specifically Chaim Blown and owner John Henry, after an, up to this point, disappointing offseason that saw Xander Bogaerts and other franchise mainstays like JD Martinez and Nathan Eovaldi leave the team in free agency. Scrutiny even caught up to Henry in real life when he was met with boos and fans yelling at him to sign Devers at Monday’s Winter Classic game at Fenway Park.
Many fans and pundits wondered whether Devers would be the next star to leave the team in free agency next summer or be traded before free agency, like his 2018 World Series teammate Mookie Betts was in 2020.
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While President of Baseball Operations Chaim Bloom and other front office execs told reporters at the end of the 2022 season that re-signing Devers and Xander Bogaerts were the team’s top priorities, one of those clearly didn’t happen. The signing may suggest that Devers was the most important player for Boston all along, given that the dollar amount on his extension far exceeds what the Red Sox reportedly offered Bogaerts and other free agents during the offseason.
The inability to re-sign Bogaerts looked like a failure, not a piece of a larger coherent strategy. It pointed to a larger narrative of the Red Sox execs being unwilling to spend top dollars on free agents.
Head-scratching moves earlier in the year also looked like blunders, like at the trade deadline where Christian Vazquez was traded for prospects instead of other players with larger contracts who looked unlikely to re-sign, like JD Martinez or Nathan Eovaldi.
Bloom can argue that spending big money on re-signing Devers was their highest priority, and once the market for Bogaerts got as high as it did, they needed to get it out. Instead of looking cheap, Bloom can argue that he and the Sox didn’t think Bogey and their other free agents were worth the numbers others offered.
In Devers, the Red Sox have a perennial All-Star and potential MVP candidate for the next decade. What matters now is whether Boston can surround Devers with the right talent to bring them back to the top of the AL East and contending for championships again.