Miles apart? Worlds apart? Galaxies apart?
Whichever distance you choose to describe the contract talks between the Boston Red Sox and star third baseman Rafael Devers, it sounds like they aren't going well...at all.
Appearing on the KayRod Cast on Sunday Night Baseball, ESPN baseball insider Jeff Passan reported that the gap in money between Boston and its slugging third baseman was nine figures, or at least $100 million.
"When I say not close at all, I mean not close at all," Passan said. "It’s a significant, significant chasm between what Rafael Devers wants, and what the Boston Red Sox at this point have been willing to offer.”
Devers, 25, is eligible for arbitration following this season and can be an unrestricted free agent after the 2023 campaign. He's off to a modest start this season, going 3 for 12 with a home run in his first at-bat of the season opener against the New York Yankees over the weekend.
An All-Star for the first time in 2021, a season in which he also earned his first Silver Slugger award, Devers has developed into one of the most feared left-handed hitters in the American League since debuting in 2017. If he's valuing himself along the same lines as some of the other top-paid third basemen in the game, such as Manny Machado of the San Diego Padres or Nolan Arenado of the St. Louis Cardinals, Devers would likely be seeking a deal in the $300 million range.
The news comes as the Red Sox still haven't worked out a new deal with shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who can opt out of his current contract following this season, while memories of botched negotiations with homegrown talent such as Jon Lester and Mookie Betts bring about déjà vu. The situation with Devers would more closely resemble that of Betts, who was dealt following his age-26 season to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
There remains every chance that the Red Sox and Devers could bridge the gap, but for now, the sides would seem to be a universe apart.