On Rafael Devers’ 26th birthday, Boston Red Sox fans received the gift of stress and confusion.
As if they haven’t suffered enough this year.
Late Monday night, Yancen Pujols of El Caribe reported that a “senior club executive” is in the Dominican Republic to move the deal along:
"“Sources: The Red Sox are moving to secure Rafael Devers long-term. The ongoing talks with Devers camp are being led by a senior club executive who is currently in the Dominican Republic. Their goal is to sign Devers, who turns 26 today, to an extension for at least 7 seasons.Devers, who last season hit .295 with 27 homers, 88 RBIs, a .358 on-base percentage, a .521 slugging percentage, an .879 OPS and a .141 OPS+, will be a free agent in 2024.And it seems Boston doesn’t want to risk Devers hitting the free agency. Sources confirmed reports that an initial offer had already been rejected last year, so Boston is expected to increase the previous offer significantly to land one of the top third basemen in the game.”"
Not so fast, though. An hour later, MassLive’s Chris Cotillo offered a conflicting report:
"“No active extension talks between the Red Sox and Rafael Devers, according to a source with direct knowledge. Nothing imminent on that front. Boston is going to try hard to extend him this winter. That intention has not changed. Just have not picked up talks in recent weeks.The Red Sox are serious about their desire to extend Devers and I do believe they’ll be aggressive on that front before Opening Day. But a source says no substantive talks since spring training. As @YancenPujols reported, they want to get it done.”"
Alex Speier of the Boston Globe chimed in, too:
"“Checked with multiple sources to see if anything is cooking on the Devers extension front today. The answer: Just birthday cake. (He turned 26 today.) To the best of my knowledge, there have been no substantively meaningful discussions of an extension, though …as @YancenPujols and @ChrisCotillo reported, the Sox are hoping to pursue a long-term deal with him this offseason.”"
Of course, it was too good to be true.
Or was it? As some Twitter users noted, Pujols was the one to break the news of Wander Franco’s mega-extension with the Tampa Bay Rays in November 2021. He reports for El Caribe, a reputable Dominican publication that’s been around for nearly a quarter of a century. If the Sox are making progress with Devers, they might be using the Boston media to suppress the story and discredit Pujols, whose sources could very well be beyond the organization’s reach.
Pujols also clapped back at Speier:
If Pujols is wrong, then it bears discussing that the Sox haven’t attempted any serious discussions with Devers since the spring. It’s an absurd and embarrassing look for this franchise. The payroll is empty and the farm is full, so there are absolutely no valid excuses anymore. Stop talking about “hope” and actually make it happen.
Speaking of making things happen, are the Sox making inroads with Xander Bogaerts? When the World Series ends, he has five days to decide if he wants to opt out of his contract and become a free agent for the first time in his career. With the organization since he was 16, he’s made it clear he wants to play in Boston until the end. The only reason he’s even considering opting out is their insulting tactics and paltry offer last spring.
At the end-of-season press conference two weeks ago, the brass made it abundantly clear that Bogaerts is their top priority. And since Devers has made it clear that he wants to play with Bogaerts, it’s hard to see the former agreeing to a long-term deal when he can just wait until free agency next year and follow the latter if need be. At this point, they should be considered a package deal, and losing them would be catastrophic.
According to Pujols, their goal is to keep both players.
But unfortunately, at this point, no one should be surprised that the Sox might be operating with absolutely zero urgency. They’ve had days, weeks, months, years even, to lock in their cornerstone duo, but they haven’t. Instead, they’ve made ludicrous lowball offers to each while posturing to the public, and people are sick of it. David Ortiz has called them stupid, Pedro Martinez has issued multiple warnings, current players are speaking out, fans are begging.
Hopefully, Pujols is right.