Red Sox Deliver With Devers Extension
It’s been a tumultuous offseason for Red Sox president of baseball operations Chaim Bloom. However, his long-term vision is starting to come into focus after reportedly agreeing on Wednesday to a massive 11-year, $331 million contract extension with superstar third baseman Rafael Devers. Shortly after receiving in-person backlash from angry Bostonians during the NHL’s Winter Classic showdown between the Bruins and Penguins earlier this week at Fenway Park, Red Sox owner John Henry swiftly responded to those demands, signing the organization’s last remaining cornerstone – following the departures of Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts over the last few years – to the largest contract in franchise history. The long-term agreement, which is pending a physical, includes the $17.5 million Devers was set to earn this season in his final year of salary arbitration and will keep him in Boston through the 2033 campaign. The 26-year-old primary offensive catalyst, who was slated to become a free agent at the conclusion of the 2023 season, batted a sublime .287/.355/.530 with 185 runs scored, 65 home runs, 201 RBI and eight stolen bases in 1,278 plate appearances over 297 games the last two seasons. Devers has cemented his status as an elite four-category stalwart and will be a second-round selection in drafts this spring.
The biggest question facing the Red Sox is whether they’ve done enough to realistically compete with the Yankees, Rays, Blue Jays and Orioles this season in a loaded AL East division. It’s fairly easy to envision top prospects Triston Casas, Marcelo Mayer and Ceddanne Rafaela eventually joining Devers to form one of the more exciting young offensive nuclei in baseball, but they’re leaning heavily on offseason acquisitions like Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida and former Dodgers slugger Justin Turner to play prominent roles in 2023. They also haven’t made a significant move to replace Bogaerts and appear poised to shift Trevor Story back to shortstop this spring, which represents a risky decision given his lackluster arm strength at this stage of his career. There are also massive question marks with Boston’s starting rotation, which is currently spearheaded by oft-injured veterans Chris Sale, Corey Kluber and James Paxton. Promising youngsters Garrett Whitlock and Brayan Bello have the potential to evolve into ace-level starters, but they’re not quite ready to front a playoff rotation yet. If there’s one area the Red Sox certainly upgraded this offseason, it’s their high-leverage relief group, which was an unmitigated disaster last year. Experienced closer Kenley Jansen and setup specialist Chris Martin should provide some much-needed stability in the late innings.
It’s unclear whether Boston’s flurry of recent activity will result in the Red Sox returning to playoff contention this upcoming season, but the combination of resolving Devers’ long-term contract situation and also establishing him as the organization’s foundational building block, at least have the navigational instruments pointing in the right direction again. There are legitimate reasons to criticize decisions made by the Red Sox’s front office (and ownership group) over the last few seasons, but signing Devers to a long-term extension should garner universal approval from the baseball universe.
The Correa Saga Continues
Just a few hours after SNY’s Andy Martino reported that the Mets and free agent shortstop Carlos Correa were actively “working toward a resolution” on a finalized contract, Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported on Thursday evening that Correa’s representatives have been in contact with at least one additional unnamed team. He also added that Thursday’s negotiations between the two sides “ran into a hiccup or two.” Not ideal. The 28-year-old superstar shortstop remains in suspended animation without a clear resolution in sight. The expectation for weeks has been that the Mets and Correa would eventually reach an agreement on some sort of restructured long-term contract, but the longer the situation drags on, the more doubt begins to creep in.
New York expressed concern with Correa’s medical reports -- specifically his surgically-repaired right ankle -- shortly after the two sides agreed to terms on a 12-year, $315 million deal back on December 21. Neither side has made any public statements, but they’re believed to be working towards adding language into Correa’s long-term contract which would protect the Mets in the event that he sustains a career-altering ankle injury, without reducing the overall value of the original agreement. It’s an extremely complicated situation that fantasy managers should continue to monitor closely. Stay tuned.
MLB Quick Hits: White Sox signed OF Andrew Benintendi to a five-year, $75 million contract … Marlins signed INF Jean Segura to a two-year, $17 million contract with a $10 million club option for 2025 … Phillies signed RHP Craig Kimbrel to a one-year, $10 million contract … Pirates signed LHP Rich Hill to a one-year, $8 million contract … Diamondbacks signed 3B Evan Longoria to a one-year, $4 million contract … Nationals signed 1B Dominic Smith to a one-year, $2 million contract … Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Brewers and free agent left-hander Wade Miley are in agreement on a one-year, $4.5 million contract … According to Jesse Rogers of ESPN, the Cubs and free agent first baseman Eric Hosmer have agreed to a one-year, $720,000 contract. … Jon Heyman of the New York Post reports that the Diamondbacks and free agent right-hander Zach Davies are in agreement on a one-year, $5 million contract … Joey Votto said on Wednesday in a radio interview with 700-WLW in Cincinnati that his left shoulder isn’t fully recovered yet from August surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff … Nick Vespi underwent successful hernia surgery on Thursday … Astros acquired OF Bligh Madris from the Tigers for cash considerations … Brewers acquired RHP Bryse Wilson from the Pirates for cash considerations … Phillies acquired RHP Erich Uelmen from the Cubs for cash considerations … Blue Jays claimed RHP Junior Fernández off waivers from the Yankees … Orioles claimed 1B Lewin Díaz off waivers from the Braves … Marlins designated INF Charles Leblanc for assignment … Brewers designated RHP Trevor Kelley for assignment … Diamondbacks designated RHP Edwin Uceta for assignment … Phillies designated RHP’s Vinny Nittoli and Francisco Morales for assignment … Nationals designated RHP A.J. Alexy for assignment … Pirates designated RPH Zach Thompson for assignment … Orioles designated 1B Ryan O’Hearn and RHP Chris Vallimont for assignment … Twins sent OF Mark Contreras outright to Triple-A St. Paul … Braves sent INF/OF Hoy Park outright to Triple-A Gwinnett … Dodgers sent RHP Jake Reed outright to Triple-A Oklahoma City … Yankees signed OF Rafael Ortega to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training … White Sox signed INF Erik Gonzalez to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training … Padres signed C Pedro Severino and RHP Wilmer Font to minor league contracts with an invitation to spring training … Rangers signed RHP Kyle Funkhouser to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training … Brewers signed LHP Alex Claudio to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training … Tigers signed C Andrew Knapp to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training … Twins signed C Tony Wolters to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training … Cubs signed LHP Ryan Borucki and C Dom Nunez to minor league contracts and also re-signed LHP Brad Wieck to a two-year minor league contract … Guardians signed OF Roman Quinn, C Cam Gallagher and RHP’s Touki Toussaint and Michael Kelly to minor league contracts with invitations to spring training … Phillies signed RHP Jake Jewell and INF Weston Wilson to minor league contracts … Mets signed LHP T.J. McFarland to a minor league contract … Mariners signed C Jacob Nottingham and also re-signed C Brian O’Keefe to minor league contracts … Blue Jays re-signed RHP Casey Lawrence to a minor league contract … Nationals signed 1B Michael Chavis, RHP’s Jose Mujica and Jesus Liranzo, and LHP’s Francisco Perez and Anthony Banda to minor league contracts … Dodgers signed C David Freitas to a minor league contract … Pirates re-signed INF Drew Maggi to a minor league contract … Giants released INF Tommy La Stella … Reds released INF Mike Moustakas.