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Red Sox Rumors: Rafael Devers Won't Entertain Contract Talks After Spring Training

Erin WalshDecember 20, 2022

CINCINNATI, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 20: Rafael Devers #11 of the Boston Red Sox walks back to the dugout after striking out in the fifth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on September 20, 2022 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Time is running out for the Boston Red Sox to extend the contract of Rafael Devers.

The third baseman, who is set to become a free agent after the 2023 campaign, "will not entertain negotiations with the Red Sox during the season," and an extension would need to be agreed upon by the end of spring training, sources told Alex Speier of the Boston Globe.

The Red Sox begin spring training in February and the team's final preseason game is on March 28. They open the regular season on March 30 against the Baltimore Orioles.

Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom recently expressed the team's desire to retain Devers in an interview with ESPN's Joon Lee:

"We will probably, I think, go beyond reason to try to get this done. 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."

While Bloom has continued to reiterate the club's desire to keep Devers in Boston beyond 2023, actions speak louder than words, and the two sides are currently "galaxies apart" in negotiations, Lee reported.

The situation with Devers has become all too familiar in Boston, with the most recent example being the departure of star shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who signed with the San Diego Padres this winter.

The Red Sox made Bogaerts a laughable offer during spring training that would have made his contract worth $90 million over four years. The offer was viewed as a "slap in the face" and he went on to play the entire 2022 season without negotiating a contract before signing an 11-year, $280 million deal with the Padres.

If the same thing happens to Devers, he would be the latest homegrown star to depart the Red Sox organization over the lack of a respectable contract, joining Bogaerts and Mookie Betts, who was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in February 2020 before signing a 12-year, $365 million deal.

Devers, 26, has spent his entire six-year career in Boston and helped the club capture the 2018 World Series title. He has emerged as one of the best third basemen in baseball over the last two seasons, earning two All-Star Game selections and a Silver Slugger award in 2021.

Devers had an impressive 2022 campaign despite the Red Sox finishing last in the AL East with a 78-84 record. He slashed .295/.358/.521 with 27 home runs and 88 RBI in 141 games.

The Dominican native is reportedly seeking a contract extension in the neighborhood of $300 million. For a player who has hit 139 home runs and drove in 455 runs over his six-year career, the investment would be worth it for Boston.

But if Bloom fails to make a deal happen, the Red Sox fan base will be left scratching their heads once again.