Red Sox contract talks with Rafael Devers off to rocky start

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 30: Rafael Devers #11 of the Boston Red Sox bats against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on September 30, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 30: Rafael Devers #11 of the Boston Red Sox bats against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on September 30, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

The Boston Red Sox have been under pressure from fans to extend Rafael Devers all season, and their efforts aren’t off to a good start.

The Boston Red Sox had a rough season, finishing last in the AL East standings as the only team below .500 in the division. They managed to scrape together a little bit of success with a lot of credit to Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts. Many have been pushing for a contract extension, and Boston has reportedly been in talks with Devers.

However, they aren’t off to a good start. According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, there’s still a large gap between what they’ve offered Devers and what he’s asking for. Heyman wrote, “Word is the Red Sox have now raised their offer to $200 million-plus, probably necessary given the Braves signed less-experienced star third baseman Austin Riley for $212 million. However, with Devers only a year away from free agency, he seeks at least 10 years for $300 million-plus.”

Devers may be asking for a lot, but he’s continuously proven to be worth every penny. He’s now a finalist for a 2022 Silver Slugger award, and he was one of the only reliable aspects of the Red Sox this season.

He’s not showing any signs of slowing down, either. He and Bogaerts were bright spots in an otherwise dark season, and they were back-to-back leaders in most batting stats for the team. Devers had the most home runs (27), RBIs (88), best slugging percentage (.521) and best OPS (.879). He tied Bogaerts for most runs (84) and came second behind him in batting average (.295) and on-base percentage (.358).

Boston has a history of not extending their best players, and they need to learn from their mistakes.

Red Sox can’t afford to lose Rafael Devers

Boston should’ve learned their lesson after several mistakes of not extending their best players, as far back as 1908 when they sold Smoky Joe Wood’s contract to Cleveland. One of the more recent examples, however, is when they let Mookie Betts walk away. Unfortunately, they seem to be making the same mistakes over and over again. Though they’re putting in an effort to keep Devers around, they need to treat him like he’s one of the best players on the team, because he is.

He’s worth a lot of money. If Devers walks away, then who will they replace him with? Unfortunately, there aren’t many options. He’s one of the best third basemen in the league.

Among all regular starters in the league in 2022, he had the seventh-best isolated power (.225), third-best batting average, fourth-best OBP, fourth-best slugging percentage and sixth-best WAR (4.9), according to FanGraphs.

He’s not an easily-replaced player, and Boston would likely have to dish out just as much money if they do find a worthy candidate to replace him. It seems more likely they’d end up with a hole in the roster where Devers was, and that’d hurt their success a lot more than it already has been.

When looking at the Red Sox from a historical standpoint, they haven’t always been as good as they were in the 2000s. Prior to their big World Series win in 2004, they hadn’t won a championship since 1918 and hadn’t made a World Series appearance since 1986. They were unsuccessful for nearly a century before rising as a serious threat in the league.

They went through a lot of roster construction and development that paid off in the early 2000s with David Ortiz as an incredible leader who essentially turned the franchise around. That helped them win four World Series within 14 seasons, and they’ve won the most championships in the 2000s.

Unfortunately, they’re sabotaging their chances of getting even better while Devers isn’t signed.

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