A possible Red Sox roadmap for trading Rafael Devers

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - MAY 10: Rafael Devers #11 of the Boston Red Sox hits a grand slam in the second inning against the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park on May 10, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - MAY 10: Rafael Devers #11 of the Boston Red Sox hits a grand slam in the second inning against the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park on May 10, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Red Sox should include Chris Sale in any Rafael Devers trade

When does the Boston Red Sox season end? The schedule says that October 5th is the last game, but the season may be over far sooner. I usually have game 50 as a point where your team is in a what you see is what you get phase. If what has happened continues to plummet the Red Sox further, the big date will be game 100 on July 28th.

Before that, the cell phone bill for Chaim Bloom will be expanding exponentially as management will undoubtedly be in a festive mood regarding a momentous yard sale. Quite possibly one that could match that of the Washington Nationals last season.

Boston is faced with several free agents who would have value to contenders. With the expanded playoffs, more teams are in the hunt, and potential customers that are willing to overpay. Boston will have the goods, have a price in mind, and an eagerness to deal.

The two most notable stars are Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers. Bogaerts has spurned a previous lowball offer and will play out the season and opt out. The early rumor mill is percolating over potential landing spots for Bogaerts, but for my money, Devers is the one that could solve a potential contract problem. Devers, as with Bogaerts, also has rejected a Red Sox contract extension.

Devers could bring Bloom’s proverbial boatload of prospects, but Devers could also have linkage to contracts the Red Sox organization wishes to dispose of. That approach certainly has precedent in baseball, with salaries shuffled around to complete a deal. Need I say more than David Price for a local salary and dead money connection.

This season, Sale is on the books for $30 MM and another $55 MM over 2023-2024, with a possible $20 MM option for 2025. The return on investment on this contract is minimal at this point. If Sale manages to show some life on his return, the value is there, along with considerable risk for a potentially interested party.

The temptation is Devers, who mashes the ball, has suddenly become passable defensively, and is a steady-run producer. At 25-years-old Dever’s best days should be ahead of him, and one can visualize a strong market surfacing for the young slugger.

As frightening as it is, my market to target for Devers is (and I now sin) the New York Yankees. Simply a first choice and one I apologize for. The Yankees and Aaron Judge may part ways over – and this is shocking – money.  Judge wishes to reach the plateau of Mike Trout in compensation. Good luck with that, Mr. Judge. A replacement slugger for Judge?

Yankee Stadium has long been a paradise for left-hand power hitters, and Devers would fit that mold. But to me, the overriding ingredient is the Sale contract, and that linkage would be crucial to consummating any deal, be it with the Yankees or elsewhere.

That aside for those with acid reflux when mentioning trading with the Yankees is another American League East destination. Baltimore has money to spend and a rich farm system, and they need a centerpiece for reconstructing the team and fan interest.

Devers has enjoyed comfy Camden Yards in his career, and even with pushback on the fences, that is no problem. When he hits them, they are gone!

Despite my previous blather, I would avoid AL East as a trading partner simply because watching Red Sox pitching getting torched by Devers every few weeks would be disheartening. The problem is the affordability, as not all 29 teams have the monetary and talent resources to get it done.

The Devers situation will continue to have traction as the timeline for his free agency continues to disintegrate. The market will be limited, and the return potentially questionable.  But as with Bogaerts, it may be inevitable.

The Red Sox could avoid all complexities of the Devers situation by negotiating to settle the matter. After losing Mookie Betts and with Bogaerts almost gone sustaining another PR hit will not sit well with a vociferous fan base.

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The best solution is for the Red Sox suddenly show a pulse, get inspired, and play up to expectations. A resurrection by the offense and pitching that no longer have fans needing a hazmat suit to watch.