The Red Sox youth movement that no one is talking about

Red Sox, Rafael Devers and Alex Verdugo
Red Sox, Rafael Devers and Alex Verdugo / Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

This current off-season for the Boston Red Sox has been one of the most discussed and scrutinized off-seasons in recent memory. The team was unable to retain one of its cornerstone players, Xander Bogaerts, as he signed in free agency with the San Diego Padres. The Red Sox did, however, extend Rafael Devers.

Rafael Devers is the cornerstone piece of a Red Sox youth movement that has already begun

The Devers extension was the single largest financial commitment by the team this off-season, but it was far from the only move the Red Sox made. The Red Sox also signed several veteran players, including Kenley Jansen, Chris Martin, Adam Duvall, Justin Turner, and Corey Kluber. This year marks each player's age-35 or older season.

There's an argument to be made that each of these guys still has plenty left in the tank, but the reality is that they aren't the long-term solution for the Red Sox. None are under contract beyond the 2024 season, and there is no expectation for them to have a career year in 2023. And despite the deliberate focus on the part of the Red Sox front office to bring in veterans this off-season, a core of young talent is beginning to take shape. Very few people are talking about this.

Aside from Devers (26), who is under-contract for the next 11 years, the following players remain under team control through at least the 2027 season according to Spotrac: Trevor Story (30), Masataka Yoshida (29), Zack Kelly (27), Garrett Whitlock (26), Tanner Houck (26), Brayan Bello (23), and Triston Casas (23).

Gabrielle Starr, Red Sox reporter for the Boston Herald, learned from sources with knowledge of the interaction that Alex Verdugo (26) spoke to team leadership (including John Henry) and expressed his desire to remain in Boston long-term. If Verdugo, who has 1 year of arbitration (2024) remaining after the conclusion of the season, does enough in 2023 to convince the Red Sox that he is deserving of an extension, he may join that aforementioned list of young talent under long-term team control.

And in addition to the young MLB-level talent on the Red Sox, several highly touted prospects within the organization could make their mark at the major-league level within the next 2 years. Among those candidates are outfielder Ceddanne Rafaela (22), starting pitcher Bryan Mata (23), infielder Enmanual Valdez (24), and shortstop Marcelo Mayer (20). And this group is far from exhaustive.

The 2023 season for the Boston Red Sox should be a very interesting one to watch, with major contributions expected from players as young as 23 (Triston Casas, Brayan Bello) and as old as 38 (Justin Turner). And while there were several veterans signed this off-season to bring the Red Sox back into contention in the short-term, the youth movement is already well underway in Boston.