February 7, 2023

Rafael Devers, Red Sox finished 11 years, $331 million extension

Third baseman Rafael Devers And the Boston Red Sox are in the process of finalizing an 11-year, $331 million contract extension, sources told ESPN, a deal that would block the 26-year-old star from free agency this year and constitute the longest and largest guarantee ever offered by the franchise. commercial.

The agreement, which is expected to be signed Wednesday night and will be the largest ever for a third baseman, comes in the midst of a grueling winter for the Red Sox, who have lost a long shortstop. Xander Bogaerts to San Diego in free agency after nearly three years of trading star right fielder Mookie Pets to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Offering Devers a deal much longer than Manny Ramirez’s eight-year deal and more than 50% larger than David Price’s $217 million contract was enough for the two-time All-Star to accept a Red Sox sponsorship from last place in the American League East and return to contention.

The contract will start in 2023 and run through the 2033 season, sources said. The long-term deal will replace the $17.5 million, one-year contract Devers signed earlier in the week to avoid arbitration.

Devers made his debut with Boston at the age of 20 in 2017 and quickly made it clear why scouts adore his bat. His left-handed swing suited Fenway Park well, hitting doubles off the Green Monster and a home run to right field. Devers’s wit only grew. In 2022, he hit .295/.358/.521 with 27 home runs, 88 RBIs and a career best OPS+.

It was similar to the 2021 season, in which Devers hit 38 home runs, and 2019, when he led the major leagues with 359 total bases as a 22-year-old. His consistency made him the ideal candidate for long-term survival with losses from Bogaerts and Betts, whose consistency was among their defining characteristics. Early negotiations over a deal, with Red Sox baseball head Chaim Blum and Devers’ agent Nelson Montes de Oka from first baseman, didn’t pay off very far in their ratings.

It’s unclear if the backlash from Bogaerts and Betts’ loss—and just the loss—affected the deal’s completion. But on Monday, with Fenway Park hosting the majestic Center Classic, fans booed Red Sox owner John Henry, a display of the city’s feelings for the owner under whom the team broke an 86-year World Series drought before winning three more championships.

Seeing Bogaerts walk away with a tens of millions of dollars bid short sting, especially with the Red Sox set to task Jeter DownsHowever, the main potential return in the Betts deal came just days later. Like Devers, Bogaerts, 30, was a home-grown star: five-time Silver Sluggers, four All-Star appearances, and a pair of World Series rings. The idea of ​​a long-running left fielder with him and Devers felt natural to the Red Sox fan base who’ve been dealing with last place two of the past three seasons, confined around the ALCS look.

When Bogaerts departed, the focus naturally shifted to Devers, who benefited greatly from the massive deals offered this winter. Aaron Judge The list is topped by $360 million from the New York Yankees. Tria Turner Got $300 million from Philadelphia, Bogarts $280 million from Padres. And the Carlos Correa He has agreed deals worth more than $300 million, though medical shortcomings have put him in limbo.

After Bogart this winter, the world championship champion Nathan Ivaldi He left for the Texas Rangers, and the Red Sox failed to sign multiple free agent targets. Instead, the Red Sox redistributed resources across the roster by adding Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida on a five-year, $90 million deal. Kenley Jansen (2 years, $32 million) and Chris Martin (2 cents, $17 million), third baseman Justin Turner In two years for $21 million and an apprentice Corey Kluber per year and 10 million dollars.

Devers will be the cornerstone of the roster and the face of the franchise for the Red Sox’ new era. Although the third baseman has improved defensively over his career, he is likely to move to first base or designated hitter on the road. But as long as his swing and production are a mirror image of what he’s done in his young career, it won’t matter what position he plays.

ESPN stats and information contributed to this report.