NBC Sports

Tomase: Sox topics include Devers, roster turnover, Schilling

NBC Sports

Random Red Sox observations as we await the start of the offseason annnnnny second now ...

The Red Sox have until 4 p.m. on Friday to reach an agreement on a contract with third baseman Rafael Devers or head to arbitration. (Update: the Red Sox and Devers have reportedly settled on a one-year deal for 2021 worth $4.575M.)

Whether or not the sides find middle ground on a one-year contract, here's my bigger-picture question -- with the premium teams currently place on youth, why don't players like Devers earn 10-year, $300 million contracts in their early 20s, when they're most likely to deliver legitimate value for the length of the deal?

Would the Red Sox be better or worse off right now, for instance, if they had offered Mookie Betts $300 million after the 2017 season instead of the $200 million that he declined? It would've cost them money in the short-term, but guaranteed an MVP performer throughout his prime and into his early 30s.

Theo Epstein lands job in MLB Commissioner's office

Instead they went year to year (partly at Betts' insistence) until they felt backed into a corner and traded him away last February. They didn't want to risk losing him for nothing.

The current system doesn't work. Teams prize young cost-controlled players above all else, but by the time those players are eligible to be paid, even teams like the Red Sox don't like what they see out of the cost-benefit analyses.

If players know they're not going to see a windfall on the back ends of their careers, they need to get as much as they can off the top.


* For all of the complaints about the Red Sox standing pat, it's worth taking a look at just how much turnover they've already experienced since opening day last July.

The Red Sox began the season with an expanded 30-man roster, and already 12 of those players are either out of the organization or off the 40-man roster -- 13 if you include free agent outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr.

In just six months, the Red Sox have said goodbye to Jonathan Lucroy, Mitch Moreland, Jose Peraza, Tzu-Wei Lin, Kevin Pillar, Martin Perez, Brandon Workman, Heath Hembree, Josh Osich, Matt Hall, Dylan Covey, and Ryan Weber. Bradley could easily depart in free agency, and it sounds like outfielder Andrew Benintendi could be on the move as well.

Tomase: Are Bloom, Sox ready to pounce in free agency?

That would be 14 players gone, or nearly half of the roster that opened the 2020 season. Chaim Bloom may not be taking a jackhammer to the roster, but he's accomplishing the same goal with a chisel.

* A counterpoint to my contention earlier this week that the pursuit of shortstop Marcus Semien raises questions about Xander Bogaerts' long-term future in Boston: maybe the Red Sox are simply being opportunistic in an attempt to shore up second base.

If Semien is willing to play there, he'd certainly improve the club tremendously. Still, we're talking about someone who has played nearly 800 games at shortstop and only 29 at second.

* Here's hoping Curt Schilling gets some help. The Hall of Fame-caliber right-hander seems lost to the fever swamp of right-wing conspiracy mongering, and perhaps there's no coming back.

But before writing him off forever, we should note these are stressful times in the Schilling household, with his wife, Shonda, battling breast cancer. The Schilling I covered as a player may have been a blowhard, but he was engaging and opinionated and great for business. The Schilling I read now on Twitter through my fingers is hateful and toxic.

We should never give up on the idea of enlightenment and redemption, however. The odds feel remote, and Schilling doesn't want my pity, but maybe he can find a little of both.