The Boston Red Sox have not shied away from extending contracts and just what does that mean for Rafael Devers? Let’s take a look.
Scott Boras is the Darth Vader of agents to fans and probably owners, but to the players, he is well-respected and a noted negotiator. The Boston Red Sox have had numerous dealings with Boras and his clients with the latest being the signing of Xander Bogaerts to a seven-year deal.
Boras has mastered the ability to develop new baseball terminology with the latest addition being “snuff contracts” as recently reported. Essentially buying out as many years as possible for a highly regarded player. The Atlanta Braves have been especially aggressive with an eight-year deal for Ronald Acuna Jr.and a seven-year deal for 22-year-old Ozzie Albies for $35MM from 2019-25 with options.
"“Great young players are getting what I call ‘snuff contracts,’” Boras told McCullough. “And a snuff contract is that they’re trying to snuff out the market. They know the player is a great player, and he’s exhibited very little performance. So they’re coming to him at 20 and 21, and I’m going to snuff out your ability to move, to go anywhere, to do anything, and your value. And I’m going to pay you maybe 40 cents on the dollar to do it. What’s my risk?” – Scott Boras"
The risk is readily apparent to signing an extension to a young player or in the case of the White Sox one Eloy Jimenez who had not even started his MLB career when he inked a five-year deal. That risk is both injury and the sudden disappearance of talent. Just ask the Tampa Bay Rays about injuries with their signing of Matt Moore who promptly broke down.
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The Red Sox have one player who fits the scope of the young players signed and that is Rafael Devers although a case could be made for Andrew Benintendi. Devers and Albies have similar service time, age, and MLB experience so the profile is in place. Offensive similar and defensively not so.
The slash-like for second baseman Albies in 2018 was .261/.305/.452 with 24 home runs. Devers 2018 was almost a mirror with a slash of .240/.298/.433 with 21 home runs. But there is a separation on defense with Albies – an All-Star last season – notching a 6.6 UZR/150 to Devers’ -5.2 UZR/150. Should the Red Sox require not a hometown but ground ball discount?
Should the Red Sox do it?
This is an obvious risk versus reward and certainly, it behooves the Red Sox to make an offer Devers can’t refuse. Boston has had no concerns about locking up other players and with the latest surge in snuff contracts, Devers would be optimum for one. Just do it and hope all those projections are legit.