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Report: Rafael Devers, Red Sox Agree to 1-Year, $17.5M Contract to Avoid Arbitration

Doric SamJanuary 3, 2023

HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 22: Rafael Devers #11 of the Boston Red Sox hits a sacrifice fly against the Houston Astros during the first inning in Game Six of the American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park on October 22, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Boston Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers has avoided arbitration after agreeing to a one-year contract for next season.

Per ESPN's Jeff Passan, Devers will earn $17.5 million in 2023.

Passan noted the agreement doesn't preclude the two sides from negotiating a long-term extension.

"The fact that the sides got this deal done shows discussions," Passan wrote.

Devers earned $11.2 million in 2022 with one more year of arbitration left on his contract before he was set to hit free agency in 2024. Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported in October that the two sides were far apart in contract negotiations.

Alex Speier of the Boston Globe added in December that Devers wasn't interested in negotiating during the 2023 season and wanted a deal done by the end of spring training.

The 26-year-old is Boston's best young player, especially after the departure of star shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who signed with the San Diego Padres this offseason. In 141 games this past season, Devers hit .295 with team-highs of 27 home runs and 88 RBI.

Devers slashed .279/.352/.538 with 38 home runs and 113 RBI in 2021. He earned his first selection to the All-Star Game and won a Silver Slugger award. His 4.7 WAR was second in MLB among third basemen behind only Cleveland Guardians slugger Jose Ramirez, per FanGraphs.

The Red Sox advanced to the American League Championship Series in 2021, falling to the Houston Astros in six games. It was Boston's first playoff appearance since winning the World Series in 2018. Devers hit .295 in the postseason with five homers and 12 RBI. However, the team had a disappointing campaign in 2022, finishing last in the AL East with a 78-84 record.

This offseason hasn't gone smoothly for Boston's front office. The team lost Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez and Nathan Eovaldi in free agency, while it hasn't signed any of the top-tier players who were on the market.

Getting Devers' contract situation for this upcoming season settled now, nearly two full months before his self-imposed deadline to stop negotiations, is a potentially good sign that the Red Sox can find common ground on a multiyear extension.