Rafael Devers’ injury seals Red Sox fate at the Trade Deadline
Rafael Devers’ injury adds to Red Sox woes
Things aren’t really going Boston’s way as of late, are they? The Red Sox were sitting pretty in the Wild Card race until a laundry list of injuries started to pile up and now they’re on the outside looking in. It’s hard to not be doom and gloom, especially after last night, but this afternoon’s news surely isn’t going to help.
The Boston Globe’s Julian McWilliams reported that Rafael Devers was left out of today’s lineup due to a tweaked hamstring and it may be severe enough to warrant a trip to the Injured List. Jen McCaffrey of The Athletic added that Raffy felt tightness during his final at-bat while also having trouble running throughout the game. Per McCaffrey, Devers didn’t feel healthy enough to play today and again, an IL stint is possible.
This is the last thing that the Red Sox or Devers need right now. The season is slowly slipping through Boston’s grip and a once-promising Wild Card berth now feels like a dream. Rafael is a core member of this lineup and more often than not things are cooking when he is, and if he’s not, oh boy you better hope somebody else steps up. He’s a key member of Boston’s big three alongside Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez, and this lineup needs him healthy.
Before the gauntlet that was 14 straight games against the Rays and Yankees things were looking pretty good for the Red Sox. While they struggled to gain wins against the AL East they were at least capitalizing on teams outside of the division. Well, Boston got shredded during that stretch, losing nearly every night, and also lost several players to injury.
At one point, it felt like they’d be big-time buyers at the Trade Deadline but now with the possibility of losing Devers added into the equation, the tide is turning. The only list longer than that of Boston’s injuries is the one containing their upcoming free agents. Take a look at the roster today, in a few months there are going to be a lot of vacant spots on the depth chart. Between inaction from the front office and ownership to combat the injuries, and now the slip in the standings, it’s garage sale time.
The biggest names on the block will most likely be J.D. Martinez and Nathan Eovaldi. There are more that I’ll get into but these are the big dogs that I can see Chaim Bloom dangling to the rest of the league. Interestingly enough, both have had injury issues of their own this season. Both are on the wrong side of 30 and are in the final months of their current deals. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a team pick up either as a rental to finish out their playoff pushes as the season winds down.
Then we can look at the dynamic duo of Christian Vázquez and Kevin Plawecki. Boston’s catching battery are both free agents when the MLB calendar flips to 2023 and neither is likely to return. Both have their pros and cons as players on the roster but the Red Sox do have some strong catching prospects coming up through the ranks that can replace them if necessary.
Now we have to talk about Bogaerts. The uncrowned captain of the Red Sox has the ability to opt out after this season and test free agency. We all know what there is to know about the situation but a recent development may change the narrative. During the All-Star break, it was noted that Scott Boras and Xander were open to in-season conversations about an extension. That would be in Boston’s best interests as they very well could get outbid for Bogey in free agency, and in a hurry.
This all starts and ends with Raffy, though. If he does go down and the Red Sox don’t have some sort of plan to fill that void in the lineup, they’re dead in the water. I may come across as some crazy fan that is fashioning a tinfoil hat to prevent the baseball apocalypse, but it’s hard to also not have some of those feelings. The squad was riding as high as they possibly could and a reality check has things feeling like 2020 all over again.
Losing Devers to the IL at this key point in the season is something that can fully change the trajectory of the game plan. Boston was already ahead of schedule thanks to their run in 2021 but ownership didn’t build upon that and now we, the fans, are seeing the result of that laziness. Raffy is easily one of the best sluggers in the game today and if the Sox don’t have his bat then they may as well be a ship without a sail.
A few short weeks ago it felt like Chaim would be doing what he does best by fleecing other teams to give the Red Sox their best chance to succeed. With this news, it feels like those hopes may be dashed, and instead of buying, he’s going to be slashing prices to move pieces while they still have value. I hope a few days off may give Rafael the chance he needs to heal and feel better but after having close to a week off that feels foolish. If the IL is in his future, I’m sure hoping it’s not a long visit.
**Update – Red Sox add Rafael Devers to the IL**
Moments after publishing this article the Red Sox announced that Rafael Devers was officially placed on the 10-day IL. I hypothesized that a trip to the Injured List could flip the script and turn the Sox from buyers to sellers. Welp, here it is. Between the losses, the injuries, and now losing the team’s biggest star for the next 10 days, I just can’t see a world where FSG wants to invest in 2022.