Yesterday it was reported that the Red Sox and Rafael Devers were finalizing an 11 year contract worth $331 million. As of today, it still hasn’t been signed, but let’s assume the Red Sox’ front office personnel aren’t insane/professionally figuratively suicidal and that the deal does get signed.
I’ve seen reports that they absolutely had to do this deal. I’ve seen others that Devers is who they really wanted, not Bogaerts. Those two sentiments are not mutually exclusive. I will say that the Red Sox really could have afforded both players, though.
Many Red Sox fans still hadn’t forgiven the team for trading away Mookie Betts for a figurative bucket of balls just to get under the “luxury tax” threshold. They were further incensed by not retaining Xander Bogaerts. Finding out they offered him a 4 year, $90M deal did not help—especially 3 years and $60M of it were already owed him were he to not exercise his opt out clause. The Padres’ deal with him, while more than anyone expected him to get, does illustrate that the Red Sox offer was woefully inadequate. Not making a real effort to keep Devers could well have had a seriously negative impact on the Red Sox marketing. It definitely would have been a constant distraction this season. Imagine the ubiquitous “Will they sign him?” “Will they trade him?” “Will he walk, and the Sox get nothing but a draft pick because of a qualifying offer?” stories.
Meanwhile, it’s also true that Devers is only 26, compared to Bogaerts’ being 30. The deal with Devers will thus end before he’s 40. Regardless, he is now the face of the franchise, and will be for the next decade.