After the Boston Red Sox lost Xander Bogaerts to the San Diego Padres in free agency, signing third baseman Rafael Devers to a contract extension has become the team's "No. 1 priority," per Jon Heyman of the New York Post.
Additionally, one baseball executive believes the Red Sox have to give Devers "whatever he wants" because they can't afford to lose him when he becomes an unrestricted free agent after next season.
Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said in a text message to Heyman that the club's efforts to retain Devers "are only intensifying" and getting him locked up is "something we've really wanted to do for a while and hopefully we'll be able to find that path."
Bogaerts signed an 11-year, $280 million deal with the Padres after being low-balled by the Red Sox, and Boston will likely need to pay Devers at least the $300 million he is asking to get him to stay in town beyond the 2023 campaign.
In July, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe reported that the Red Sox "identified Matt Olson's eight-year, $168 million extension with Atlanta as a basis for discussions" with Devers, which seems laughable after the spending spree teams went on in this winter's market.
However, sports analyst Marino Pepén (h/t MLB insider Héctor Gómez) reported in November that the Red Sox have been inching closer to Devers' $300 million asking price, with the difference in conversations being around $50 million.
With all of the talent that has departed Boston since 2018, keeping Devers around should be more than a priority for the Red Sox.
The 26-year-old earned his second straight All-Star Game selection in 2022 after slashing .295/.358/.521 with 27 home runs and 88 RBI in 141 games. He won a Silver Slugger award in 2021 and helped the Red Sox capture the World Series title in 2018.
In 689 games across six seasons, Devers is hitting .283/.342/.512 with 139 home runs and 455 RBI. Considering his youth, he has the potential to be a Boston great.