The timing is better for the Red Sox to extend Rafael Devers than it was when they negotiated with Mookie Betts
In the long history of the Boston Red Sox, there have been several players deserving of a big payday.
Mookie Betts is at or near the top of the list.
The Sox drafted Betts in the fifth round of the 2011 June Amateur Draft, and when he made his debut in 2014, it was clear he had some serious talent. In 2015, his first full big-league season, he received MVP votes. In 2018, he became the first player in MLB history to win a Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, batting title, MVP award, and World Series in the same year. By the time the Sox traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers in February 2020, he’d won four consecutive Gold Gloves and three Silver Slugger awards. He’s been an All-Star every year since 2016, save for 2020, when there was no game.
Why didn’t the Sox lock a guy like that in for the remainder of his career? There are various reasons and excuses, some valid, some flimsier than a piece of paper in a rainstorm. And with the Sox preparing to re-open negotiations with Rafael Devers this fall, fans are worried it will only be a repeat of losing Betts.
But it’s worth pointing out that there’s a much better chance this deal goes through. Baseball is a team sport in that it’s not just whether a player is deserving of a lucrative contract, but whether the organization is in the optimal position to make it a successful situation, and in that regard, things in the Sox organization are aligned for a Devers deal in a way they weren’t for Betts. Timing is everything, after all.
Here are three reasons why the time is right for Devers the way it wasn’t for Betts…
Devers is younger than Betts
The Sox began making extension offers to Betts in 2018, when he was 25, the same age Devers is now, but by the time they decided to trade Betts, he was 27.
27 isn’t old by any means, but Devers already has six seasons (and several postseasons) under his belt at an even younger age. The Sox could give him a 10-year deal and he’d still be much younger at the end of it than when Betts reaches free agency as a 41-year-old in 2033.