The Boston Red Sox are officially on the clock.
For the second year in a row, Rafael Devers has informed the team that he will engage in extension talks until the end of spring training, but not during the regular season, which begins on March 30, 2023.
This is it. Devers is in his final year of arbitration; barring an extension, he’d become a free agent after the 2023 season. The Sox could lose yet another homegrown star for absolutely no acceptable reason.
Rafael Devers gave Red Sox a firm deadline for contract negotiations
The Red Sox are a distinctly un-funny comedy of errors. Their reputation as cheapskates with the homegrown kids is well-established, as is their propensity to throw sacks of money at free agents. They attempted to replace Jon Lester with David Price. Mookie Betts seems irreplaceable. They paid Carl Crawford and Pablo Sandoval while trying to cheap out on David Ortiz. Xander Bogaerts just opted out, and Devers might get sick of the nonsense, wait out the year, and follow him.
When the Sox traded Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers ahead of the 2020 season, the semi-valid excuses they provided were that the farm system was weak and the luxury tax implications were insurmountable. Of course, these were problems of their own creation, and the Sox could’ve ignored them if they’d really wanted to. Nevertheless, no such excuses exist now. The farm is flourishing and the payroll is emptier than Winnie-the-Pooh’s cupboard after a honey binge.
Devers may still be looked upon as the baby of the team, but he’s 26 now and he knows his worth. Heck, Gerrit Cole, the pitcher he’s homered off more than any other in his career, thinks he’s a $300M kid.
The Sox were reckless with Bogaerts, making him a lowball offer last spring while signing a replacement for him. They failed to circle back during the season, even though Bogaerts made it clear he was open to talking. It’s no wonder he opted out when they basically pushed him out the door, and it’s hard to see them being able to reel him back in.
Devers is giving no such quarter, and power to him. It’s time for the Sox to get on board. Otherwise, they’ll spend the next decade on the receiving end of his powerful swing.