David Ortiz compares Rafael Devers to himself in rant about Red Sox contract negotiations
A franchise legend isn’t happy with the Boston Red Sox.
For months, David Ortiz has publicly campaigned for the Sox to come to agreements on contract extensions for Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts. He’s seen the Sox repeat the same modus operandi for years, lowballing franchise stars, trading them away, and then paying unproven free agents even more money, only to watch them fail upon arrival. Like most of us, he wants that vicious cycle to end with Bogaerts and Devers.
On Wednesday, the man who knows a thing or two about giving galvanizing speeches joined the Gresh & Keefe show on WEEI to talk Devers’ contract or lack thereof:
"“[Devers] is what everybody wants. And in an era where everybody’s struggling hitting-wise, he’s one of the best hitters in the game. We need to figure out how to keep this kid, and I’ve been saying that for the past couple years. I’ve been saying that for a while. I mean, this kid is legit, he reminds me so much of myself… He’s fearless. When I see Devers step up to the plate, I got no doubt that something good’s about to happen. He’s one of the elite players in the game right now… Let’s not be stupid. This is what the game is all about. You find a guy like him, that’s a keeper. Young, talented, one of the best hitters in the game.”"
Listen to the full clip here:
It’s time for the Red Sox to give Rafael Devers his big contract
Devers will be 26 at the end of October. He’s in his second consecutive All-Star season and making a case for his second Silver Slugger award in as many years. He’s hitting .299/.357/.554 with a .911 OPS, 32 doubles, and 25 home runs. Among all American League hitters, he’s fifth in offensive WAR and doubles, sixth in batting average, third in SLG and OPS, fourth in total bases, and ninth in homers
Devers has also improved dramatically at third base, which suggests that a lucrative contract is even more deserved than before. Whereas he compiled -12 OAA and -13 DRS in 2021, he’s at +2 OAA and -1 DRS this season.
Ortiz knows a thing or two about negotiating with the Sox. In his memoirs, he writes that each time he reached free agency, the Sox would lowball him and he’d take a ‘hometown discount,’ wanting to stay in Boston. According to him, it wasn’t until he expressed a desire to retire that ownership told him they’d pay whatever it took for him to finish his career in a Red Sox uniform.
Watching the franchise’s biggest star publicly critique them is uncomfortable (but justified), especially since he remains affiliated with the club. The Sox inked Ortiz to a ‘lifetime’ contract in 2017, less than a year after his final game, to ensure that he’d continue to represent the club. His duties include mentoring young players, including Devers.
Amidst one of the most disappointing seasons since the current ownership took over two decades ago, coming to terms with Devers and Bogaerts should be the top priority so that they can retire like Ortiz, tipping his cap to thousands of adoring fans.