Red Sox Insider: Is Rafael Devers signing a huge turning point?

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 26: Rafael Devers #11 of the Boston Red Sox follows through on a hit against the Baltimore Orioles during the fourth inning at Fenway Park on September 26, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 26: Rafael Devers #11 of the Boston Red Sox follows through on a hit against the Baltimore Orioles during the fourth inning at Fenway Park on September 26, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images) /

The Boston Red Sox announced the signing of Rafael Devers to an 11-year $331M contract. It was initially announced earlier as an arbitration-avoiding one-year, $17.5M deal only.

This article’s title initial was, “Rafael Devers signed for only one year” and it was not complimentary of the Red hierarchy. But this deal certainly changes some things and maybe some long-held perceptions.

The Red Sox changed their tune and made a big-time deal for the right player. The deal is a huge plus on any of a whole host of levels. The listing Sox ownership and Chief Baseball Officer, Chaim Bloom was in need of a win and they got one with this deal.

Devers’ is the real deal Red Sox Nation has been hoping for if not expecting from the absentee ownership and baseball management team. Anything but a long-term deal for Devers or his trade for another All-star caliber or better player(s) would have been another monstrous failure by the Red Sox to properly manage their best players.

The Red Sox were also spreading around big cash on mediocre players rather than concentrating their resources on the very best. The Devers deal changes that too, at least for the moment. It buys the team time to do more, and lots of goodwill.

Let’s take a look at the positives.

The Boston Red Sox quest for excellence is back on track

Back in the day, the current ownership cared about the team and the plan was to invest in the best to beat the best. And they did. Under Theo Epstein and then Dave Dombrowski, (he was kicked to the curb after the 2019 season only 3 years ago), they did just that. And lo and behold, they won World Series titles and division titles in the process. What a shock!

Dave Dombrowski did too good a job evidently winning three straight Division titles and a World Series in 2018 before a down year provided the convenient excuse to send him and his winning ways packing.

Since then it’s been catch-as-catch-can for this team. Cutting payroll was the dominant theme. And they do that by not re-signing the team’s own All-Stars like Xander Bogaerts nor trading them for real value.

Now, they may be back on track as a big-market team. When you sign a mega-contract (frowned on here generally) you make a commitment. It’s a “statement signing” in Dever’s case, a well-placed investment of big resources where they should be invested, in young, All-Star players of championship caliber.

Devers is just that. At age 26, he’s an unusual case. Not many big stars become free agents well-before age 30. It’s an optimum situation. Devers’ deal also sends a message to the MLB that the Sox are back in the game.

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Owner John Henry was booed at Fenway Park during a hockey game recently. Maybe that impacted the lack of enthusiasm by the ownership and got them back on track.

The once proud and mighty Red Sox of David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Jason Varitek, et al had become a laughingstock of baseball. Devers signing brings that ongoing sentiment to a halt, at least for the time being.

Boston Red Sox trades have also largely flopped

Unless traded, Devers would have likely been in Boston this season anyway. Even with Dever’s this team is headed for last place in the American League East. There’s a heck of a lot more to do and as Bloom himself noted, trades might be just the way to do, it.

The Sox threw away a chance last offseason to build upon their excellent 2021 roster that took them to the ALCS. They deconstructed that top team by jettisoning key players rather than adding to them.

The Red Sox also traded some of their best players in the last three years and got fleeced in the process. Hello to the Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, and most recently the Hunter Renfroe trades, all flops. Chaim Bloom has to shore up lots of damage done. Signing Devers is a good first step.

Next. Boston Red Sox will rely heavily on Triston Casas in 2023. dark

The Red Sox needs a couple of blockbuster trades they actually win for a change. Get the best players and you have a chance. Don’t, and you’ll be looking up again at Baltimore, Tampa Bay, and Toronto in the AL East for the third time in four years. And as for the Division-winning Yankees, the Red Sox aren’t even an afterthought.

There’s a lot to do and little time before spring training starts. Let’s see if they can keep the positive momentum going with some great trades.