The Boston Red Sox finally delivered the news that fans have been waiting for. We missed another franchise star this winter, but we didn’t miss another franchise star. They succeeded in putting Rafael Devers on an 11-year, $331 million contract.
Devers, who made his debut at the age of 20 in 2017, was able to obtain FA qualification after the next season. In the free agency market, ‘age’ is as important as his grades. For Devers, who has already risen to become a league-top third baseman, being a free agent at 27 was a huge advantage. I knew this, and Boston knew it. So, negotiations on the extension of the contract between the two sides have been difficult. “It’s a difference of over $100 million,” Devers said.
Just yesterday, Devers agreed to his salary contract for this season ($17.5 million). It was a kind of green light that the two sides successfully completed the final salary adjustment without much noise (on the contrary, if it went to the annual salary adjustment trial, it would be a red light). Boston added that it would pursue a long-term contract as well, and actually made that statement the next day. Meanwhile, Devers’ contract starts next year, not this year.
Boston definitely treated me. Devers’ contract size is the 6th largest in history, exceeding Bryce Harper’s $330 million (13 years) (12 years, $426.5 million by Mike Trout). Third baseman with an annual salary of over $30 million, Devers is third after Anthony Rendon ($35 million) and Nolan Arenado ($32.5 million). The Boston Beast’s biggest contract before Devers was Manny Ramirez’s eight-year, $160 million deal in 2000. You can guess how big a decision Boston made.
Devers was a player Boston had been eyeing since he was 14 years old. The scout who saw Devers for the first time described him as “an underrated player among a lot of overrated players”. He picked the ‘confidence’ that was cut all over his body as the part that impressed him more than batting and defense. This confidence is still Debus’ greatest weapon.
Devers is a player Boston is grateful for. It’s not just because of sexuality. In the winter of 2014, Boston gave Pablo Sandoval a five-year, $95 million contract. And this contract became a dark history for the team. As Devers soon took over the position of third baseman, who was about to be in big trouble, the shock came out quickly. Without Devers, the aftermath of Sandoval would have been worse.
Devers stood out in 2019, hitting 201 hits in 156 games (.311 batting average and 32 homers). His 54 doubles was the most in the league. It was only the third time in history that a batter under the age of 22 hit 50 doubles in a single season (Alex Rodriguez 54 in 1996 and Manny Machado 51 in 2013). Devers, who was selected as the first All-Star in 2021, was reborn as a third baseman representing the league as he was selected as an All-Star for the second consecutive year last year.
Boston’s reason for keeping Devers was clear. But he wasn’t sure. In the meantime, Boston has only neglected franchise stars. There were not one or two players who left feeling betrayed, and there were only a handful of players who had a good ending.
In 2014, John Lester was the ace who led Boston to win the World Series twice. Lester had great pride as a Boston player. He could have made more money in free agency, 메이저놀이터 but he’s been open about wanting to stay in Boston. At the time, Lester’s demand was only $1 more than Cincinnati Homer Bailey’s $105 million. However, the contract that Boston initially offered was four years and $70 million. Even thinking about it again, it was embarrassing. Boston’s final offer was $135 million, but it was late and small. As a result, Lester signed a six-year, $155 million contract with the Chicago Cubs.
The winter three years ago, Mookie Betts left Boston. Betts has consistently expressed his desire to have his value evaluated in the free agent market. Therefore, breaking up with Bets was an unstoppable future. Even so, Boston was not actively engaged in negotiations. Betts, who wanted to evaluate his value in the free agent market, announced a 12-year, $365 million contract extension after transferring to the Dodgers. He couldn’t afford to catch, but he didn’t have the mind to catch.
This winter we had Zander Bogatz. Bogarts twice expressed his desire to extend his contract last season. Still, Boston wasn’t doing their best for Bogarts. I watched Bogatsu longer than anyone else, but I couldn’t properly evaluate the value of Bogatsu.
When Bogarts succeeded in signing an 11-year, $280 million contract with San Diego, fans couldn’t hold back their anger any longer. Local media also strongly criticized the complacent attitude of the Boston leadership. Even owner John Henry could not avoid this arrow. The extension contract with Devers also has the inherent purpose of breaking this atmosphere.
Another problem with Boston is that it hasn’t had any decent investments lately. David Price (7 years, $217 million), who was brought in from Leicester, was a significant headache for the team. Now, Chris Sale (five years, $145 million) is walking Price’s path. Last winter’s Trevor Story (6 years, $140 million) was also a questionable acquisition, and Yoshida Masataka (5 years, $90 million) this winter also made me wonder. The Betts trade also felt more deprived because the players it acquired were regrettable (Jitter Downs, a key prospect, was released last December).
Debus has to become a savior who will end this atrocity. He is looking forward to playing the role that saved him from the pit of Sandoval in the past. Above all, he must prove that he is a lumberjack capable of leading a team without Bo Gats. Let’s see what Boston’s selection will bring.