Red Sox Rumors: Rafael Devers 'Almost Certain' to Start Season Without New Contract

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVApril 7, 2022

Boston Red Sox's Rafael Devers rounds the bases on his two run homer in the eighth inning of Game 2 of a baseball American League Division Series against the Tampa Bay Rays, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

The Boston Red Sox will be starting the 2022 MLB season later than expected, but that might not provide much help toward working out a new contract with Rafael Devers before Opening Day.

MLB Network's Jon Morosi reported Thursday the two sides "are not making progress" on an extension and that "it is almost certain" nothing will be finalized before the Red Sox begin play on Friday.

Devers will earn $11.2 million this year and is arbitration-eligible for one more year before he can hit free agency in 2024.

Red Sox fans won't forget the Mookie Betts trade anytime soon. Rather than extending Betts' contract or letting him hit free agency and trying their luck there, the Red Sox sent the five-time All-Star to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The longer Devers remains without a new contract, the more the fanbase might grow concerned he could be on the way out.

The 25-year-old third baseman is coming off a big 2021 season. He hit 38 home runs and finished with a .890 OPS and a 132 OPS+, per Baseball Reference. His 4.7 WAR were second-most at his position on FanGraphs.

Devers also delivered in the postseason, posting a .296/.392/.636 slash line as Boston pushed the Houston Astros to six games in the American League Championship Series.

There's no question about where he should theoretically fit into the franchise's long-term plans. But if ownership was willing to draw a line in the sand with Betts—one of the best position players in baseball—then it would presumably be willing to adopt the same tactic with Devers.

The return of meaningful games will help to shift the focus away from Devers' contract status, but the situation is likely to remain a subplot of the Red Sox's 2022 campaign.