The Boston Red Sox aren’t letting Rafael Devers get away
They finally paid the man. After years of watching homegrown talent slip through their fingers, the Boston Red Sox are finally paying up to retain one of their star players.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the Red Sox are in agreement with third baseman Rafael Devers on an 11-year, $331 million contract extension.
The deal isn’t officially done until Devers undergoes a physical. While the Carlos Correa fiasco serves as a warning that a deal is never done until the ink is dried, it would be shocking if anything came up regarding his medicals considering Devers has spent his entire career in the Red Sox organization.
Devers is coming off his second consecutive All-Star appearance. He hit .295 with a .879 OPS, 27 home runs, and 88 RBI last season.
The Red Sox reached an agreement with Devers yesterday on a one-year, $17.5 million deal to avoid arbitration. The successful negotiations with plenty of time to spare before the deadline was a positive step in the right direction, signaling a long-term extension could be on the horizon.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Atheltic, Devers will still be paid $17.5 million next season for his final year of arbitration eligibility. The extension begins in 2024 to keep Devers in town for another decade beyond that. He’ll also receive a $20 million signing bonus.
The extension for Devers easily tops Manny Ramirez’s eight-year deal for the longest contract ever given by the Red Sox and dwarfs David Price’s $217 million for the most total guaranteed by the franchise.
The Red Sox made it clear that extending Devers was their top priority but we’ve heard that song and dance before. Earlier this offseason, Boston failed in their efforts to re-sign free-agent shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who signed with the San Deigo Padres for significantly more than what the Red Sox were offering. Their reluctance to offer long-term deals that extend over a decade created the perception that the Red Sox weren’t going to be able to make competitive offers to sign the top free agents or retain their homegrown stars.
Apparently, they learned their lesson. Granted, a long-term deal is more palatable for a 26-year-old Devers than it would be for other stars hitting their 30s.
With his $331 million extension, Devers surpasses Bryce Harper ($330 million) for the sixth-highest guaranteed contract in MLB history. Harper’s deal was spread out over 13 years though, lowering the average annual value for luxury tax purposes. Only Mike Trout (12/$360M), Aaron Judge (9/$360M), and Francisco Lindor (10/$341M) have topped the money Devers is being paid in fewer than 11 years.
As historic as this deal is for Devers, it’s arguably a bargain for the Red Sox. He’s paid appropriately for his star-caliber production but Boston is avoiding the risk that most teams are taking on the back end of these mammoth deals. The Red Sox won’t be paying Devers this much money until he’s approaching 40, his extension runs through his age 36-season when he should still be productive, health permitting.
While most teams are zigging toward longer deals at a lower AAV in an attempt to cheat the luxury tax system, the Red Sox zag by paying more than they probably needed to if they were willing to commit more total dollars on a longer deal.
Whether or not that proves to be the right choice is almost irrelevant at this point. Red Sox Nation is simply overjoyed with the news that Devers won’t be following so many of his former teammates out of town.