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Red Sox Rumors: Rafael Devers, Boston Are 'Galaxies Apart' in Contract Negotiations

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVDecember 19, 2022

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 5: Rafael Devers #11 of the Boston Red Sox looks on against the Tampa Bay Rays during the seventh inning at Fenway Park on October 5, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images

Boston Red Sox will have to watch Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts in different uniforms during the 2023 season, and another star may soon be on the way out.

Third baseman Rafael Devers is set for free agency following the upcoming campaign, and Joon Lee of ESPN reported that he and the Red Sox are "galaxies apart" when it comes to contract negotiations.

As of Monday, Devers' camp expects him to be a free agent after his contract expires.

It is probably fair for Boston fans to be concerned with a seemingly growing pattern of star departures.

Lee noted the Red Sox did not want to give Betts a $400 million contract and promptly traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers ahead of the 2020 season. While he was unwilling to accept a team-friendly deal, he did want to stay put ahead of the trade.

Similarly, Bogaerts wanted to remain with the Red Sox and apparently even said he'd be willing to move to second or third base from his shortstop spot down the line. Yet the front office didn't match the San Diego Padres' 11-year, $280 million deal this offseason, and Bogaerts didn't want to settle for a hometown discount.

In fact, Lee reported one source close to Bogaerts said he viewed Boston's previous offer of an additional year and $30 million on top of the three years and $60 million he had left on his old contract like "a slap."

That is the backdrop for the Devers' negotiations, which are seemingly just starting up in earnest.

"We will probably, I think, go beyond reason to try to get this done," chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said. "Hopefully we can get this done. There are always going to be limitations, like people can just put something plain out of reach. Some people love to bet on themselves and I hope he hits 63 homers if he does that."

There will be plenty of pressure on the front office to "get this done."

Devers is in the middle of his prime at 26 years old and already has a resume that includes a World Series title, two All-Star selections and a Silver Slugger. Losing him after losing Betts and Bogaerts would be quite a blow for one of the most high-profile organizations in the sport.

He slashed .295/.358/.521 with 27 home runs and 88 RBI after launching a career-best 38 home runs with 113 RBI in 2022.

Boston is coming off a last place finish in the American League East at 78-84 and has made the playoffs just once since it won the 2018 World Series. Forbes lists the franchise as the third-most valuable in all of MLB, and there is surely some angst within the fanbase ahead of the 2023 season.

Re-signing Devers is one way to address that, but the two sides apparently have plenty of work left to do before reaching an agreement.