Boston Red Sox should take notes on this growing MLB trend
The Red Sox should be prepared to lock up their young stars early
There has slowly been a trend brewing in MLB during this 2021 offseason and the Red Sox should be prepared to join in on it in the foreseeable future.
It all started with the San Diego Padres extending their 22-year-old phenom shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. with a 14-year, $340 million deal. This is of course an absolute haul for a young star who has yet to prove that he can even play a full season, though this move was a brilliant one by Padres general manager A.J. Preller. He secured their young buck and will no longer need to worry about him walking away and pursuing big money.
The Washington Nationals now are expected to follow in their footsteps as they are currently in the works of extending their 22-year-old star outfielder Juan Soto.
What does this mean for the Red Sox?
It means that when they believe they have a young star in the making, they should do everything in their ability to extend them as quickly as possible. There is little risk because usually with young players it is tough to judge how much they are worth with a small sample size. Extending Soto and Tatis Jr. could potentially save them money down the road. If they had waited a few more years, that price could easily increase and that is where they can be risking losing them to free agency.
Boston was wise to lock up star Xander Bogaerts, the heart and soul of the club for six years. So they can check that off their list. Rafael Devers is where it gets tricky. The team signed him for $4.57 to avoid arbitration in 2021 but there is little talk regarding a long-term deal. Devers is just 24-years-old but imagine if they decided to play aggressively when he was at the same age as Tatis and Soto?
There would be a lot less pressure on the front office if they decided to get it over with and put trust in him that he is a key piece for the Sox. After Devers, there are not many others that you can lock up early unless they want to be extremely aggressive with players like Bobby Dalbec. Dalbec has only played in 23 career games so it sounds crazy to extend him but the price will not be costly. That way you solidify your young core for at least the next 5-6 seasons. That would give the team the opportunity to become flexible and build around these potential young stars.
This will be a trend whether we want to admit it or not, and the more players to get extended at a younger age the more likely teams will follow. The Red Sox will have to keep this in mind when it comes to their young unsigned players for the future so they avoid losing out on somebody special.