The Red Sox should offer an extension to Rafael Devers right away
The Boston Red Sox are trying to shrink their payroll but remain competitive. This is why they should extend Rafael Devers before his value gets too high.
The times they are a-changing for the Red Sox and the future is up in the air. Obviously the team will still be here but the faces we’re used to seeing 162 nights a year may be different come April. We know of several that will be back for spring training but with a tight budget and several free agents, many won’t be.
One man that should be a sure-thing for the foreseeable future is Rafael Devers, and Boston needs to lock him down right away. We’ve heard from John Henry and Sam Kennedy that the goal this winter is to get the payroll as close to the $208 CBT as possible. Kennedy also pointed out that it isn’t a strict mandate but it is the desired goal.
With that in mind, it’s going to be hard to sign free agents as well as retain some big names going forward. This is why the Red Sox should offer Devers an extension this winter while his value is still relatively low.
Raffy made just $614K this past season and was easily one of the best third basemen in the league. What he did in his sophomore campaign was off the freaking charts. He and Xander Bogaerts would form the best-left side in baseball in 2019 and they don’t show any signs of slowing down.
Boston should not only reward Rafael for what he did during his second full season but for the work he put in to continue progressing as a player. Considering he will be arbitration-eligible after next season this is the time to strike.
They can offer him a deal that is not only friendly to the budget but will reward the third baseman for his work ethic and level of play. Devers did things this year that haven’t been done since Ted Williams was in the lineup. He also put up numbers that would put him in the territory of some of the greatest third basemen ever.
His .311/.361/.555/.916 slash line mixed with 32 dingers and 54 doubles made him the talk of the league as he’s only 22-years-old. 2019 was Raffy’s second full season in the majors after a quick stint in 2017 and a strong freshman season last year. He has done nothing but improve in every facet of the game and with his mentor right beside him, he’ll only get better.
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If Boston waits too long to pay Devers then he may wind up being out of reach, similar to the situation they’re facing with Mookie Betts. This past winter they were able to sign Bogaerts to a long-term 6-year/$120M extension that will keep Bogey in Boston for what may be his entire career. The Red Sox were able to sign Bogaerts to a club-friendly deal that not only rewarded his play but his loyalty to the franchise.
Though Raffy isn’t a free agent until 2024, once he becomes arbitration eligible his price tag may start to make the front office sweat. If they can extend him this winter while he’s still on the incline but yet to make significant money they may be able to offer him a Bogey style deal.
Rob Bradford of WEEI spoke about the Astros being in a similar situation with Alex Bregman and how they were able to achieve what the Red Sox need to do with Devers. Both infielders have similar stats through 2019 as well as tenure with their teams. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Boston offer something along the lines of what Houston gave Bregman in order to keep at Fenway for the long haul.
Boston is in a major transition as they are completely re-working their front office in the wake of Dave Dombrowski’s dismissal. With the overhaul in the board room, they can’t afford to miss out on their chances to better this team going forward. Devers is a player much like Bogey and Mookie that will only get better as he develops and gets older.
This is the best chance for the Red Sox to strike and lock him down for a good while. If they wait until next winter they’ll surely get their clock cleaned in arbitration, especially if Raffy continues his ascent. As FSG looks for their next GM they need to make sure they have the interim team on top of things so the team doesn’t get crippled for 2020.
Rafael Devers proved that he can be one of the best third basemen in the league this past season. With only being 22-years-old, the sky is the limit for Big Scoops to continue wrecking the American League. The Red Sox have a great chance this winter to secure a generational player for the long-term and it would be in their best interest to do so. If they wait too long to extend Devers then it may be too late and the price may outweigh the budget.