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Wednesday, April 06, 2022

Boston Red Sox made Rafael Devers extension offer but deal unlikely before Opening Day as sides remain ‘very far off’

The Red Sox recently made an extension offer to star third baseman Rafael Devers but a deal is unlikely to come together before Opening Day, a baseball source said Wednesday afternoon. The sides were described as being “very far off” in negotiations.

Héctor Gómez of Z Deportes first reported the offer, noting that Devers rejected because “it was lower than he is willing to consider.” Devers has said he doesn’t want to talk about a long-term deal once the regular season begins; a source said it’s doubtful that further talks occur before Opening Day (Friday).

The latest developments jibe with Devers’ comments to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier earlier this week.

“We had a conversation with the team,” Devers told Speier (through translator Carlos Villoria-Benítez). “We didn’t get to anything. But I still have one more year. I have this one and the next year. And I’m ready to play with Boston, with the Red Sox. We’re not going to talk about it [more] this spring. Let’s see how this season goes.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 06, 2022 at 06:16 PM | 6 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: rafael devers, red sox

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: April 06, 2022 at 08:15 PM (#6070625)
Somebody asked me to apply my amazingly accurate contract prognostication skills to Devers. So let's see

2 years of arb left, $5+ in the bank, $11 this year so probably $15+ next year is a nice nest egg. Shouldn't be too much of a discount on the FA years. The bat has bounced around a bit and the glove is apparently terrible but he's been durable. Still, if Rfield is remotely accurate, he'll be 1B/LF/DH in the not too distant future. The 132 OPS+ bat plays nicely anywhere of course, the 105 bat not so impressive. Of course he's only turning 25 this year so room for growth.

I've not really seen much of Devers and haven't paid that much attention when I have so I have no personal feel for the guy. Objectively if I were the Red Sox, I'd probably sit tight, see if the bat makes that jump to a 140-150 bat ... then I'll regret I hadn't tied him up earlier. If they think the bat is for real, then sure move now. But as it stands, he's probably a bit better (and younger) than Schwarber -- who was not on my comp radar before opening Devers' b-r page.

A stroll around only brought to mind two good-hitting, defensively challenged 2B-3B: Eugenio Suarez and Ketel Marte. Suarez signed a pretty questionable deal covering 3 arb years and 4 FA years for $66 M. He turns FA again at either 33 or 34, not good. Still that's a few tens of millions more in career earnings than me so I don't blame the guy. Anyway, at the time of signing, Suarez hadn't had a big offensive season yet so Devers is pretty clearly better. Marte also hadn't hit yet when he signed his cheap buyout. That deal included options for 2023-24 and the DBacks seem to have added another 3/$51 to that taking him through age 33. On the other hand, it's not clear he's any worse than Kris Bryant who got 7/$182.

Mainly ... Baez and Story got 6/$140 through age 34. I don't think Devers is in that class of value, his bat really has to improve to be a steady 4-5 WAR player. So if I'm buying him out two years early, I want an AAV well below that for his FA years. On the other hand, if he is slated for $15 in arb next year, surely the AAV on the FA years has to be at least $20. So if I believe in his bat, I see if he'll go for adding 5/$100 (to the 2/$25ish he's already stuck with) plus a couple of option years. I don't think he'll take that and I could probably be talked into guaranteeing the two option years or adding a big buyout to the options to increase the guarantee some.
   2. The Duke Posted: April 06, 2022 at 08:55 PM (#6070634)
I guess the next step is to trade him to the Dodgers
   3. sunday silence (again) Posted: April 07, 2022 at 04:43 AM (#6070654)
It's a nice analysis. Does NL DH increase that projection just a bit?
   4. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: April 07, 2022 at 08:40 AM (#6070660)
There are two trends about Devers I'm starting to see in Red Sox Nation (blogs, social media, talk radio, etc.):

1) A split beginning to emerge between those fans who are saying, "He is going to have his best year yet in 2022. He is only 25. His defense is getting better. Back up the Brinks truck and get the long-term deal done." And then the fans who are saying, "I like him a lot, but he's not really in great shape now - when he's 25. His defense is, at best, average, and he probably won't even be a 3B by the time he is 30. Do we really want to pay elite $ to a guy who will be an above-average hitting DH? And he won't play 1B, because Casas is about to take that position over." I didn't see that split until this winter - but it is sort of there now.

2) There is also this "If we sign Bogaerts to a big contract, then it probably means Devers is gone, or vice-versa" thing out there. Of course, the team could theoretically keep both, but that would likely require the three elite prospects they have (Mayer, Yorke, Casas) all working out. All three of those guys are infielders, and the team has just signed Story to play 2B (and SS next year, if Bogaerts leaves). As little depth as the team has in the OF, that's how much depth they now have in their system in the infield. All that said, there is a zero-sum mentality in the fan base to these two guys, and that is intensifying as their free agency dates crawl closer.
   5. Darren Posted: April 07, 2022 at 10:47 AM (#6070677)
Mainly ... Baez and Story got 6/$140 through age 34. I don't think Devers is in that class of value, his bat really has to improve to be a steady 4-5 WAR player.


A quibble here: all of the projection systems on Fangraphs have him projected between 4 and 5 WAR (mostly closer to 5) for next year, his age 25 season. If you're only concerned with B-R, then it's a lot less clear, though.

1) A split beginning to emerge between those fans who are saying, "He is going to have his best year yet in 2022. He is only 25. His defense is getting better. Back up the Brinks truck and get the long-term deal done." And then the fans who are saying, "I like him a lot, but he's not really in great shape now - when he's 25. His defense is, at best, average, and he probably won't even be a 3B by the time he is 30. Do we really want to pay elite $ to a guy who will be an above-average hitting DH? And he won't play 1B, because Casas is about to take that position over." I didn't see that split until this winter - but it is sort of there now.

2) There is also this "If we sign Bogaerts to a big contract, then it probably means Devers is gone, or vice-versa" thing out there. Of course, the team could theoretically keep both, but that would likely require the three elite prospects they have (Mayer, Yorke, Casas) all working out. All three of those guys are infielders, and the team has just signed Story to play 2B (and SS next year, if Bogaerts leaves). As little depth as the team has in the OF, that's how much depth they now have in their system in the infield. All that said, there is a zero-sum mentality in the fan base to these two guys, and that is intensifying as their free agency dates crawl closer.


Both of these scenarios have the Red Sox making decisions about Devers/Bogaerts based on assumptions that prospects will work out and stay at their current positions. I doubt they are approaching it this way and I agree with them. They are more likely deciding whether they can sign Devers/Bogaerts to deals that they think are good values, then planning to worry about fitting everyone into the lineup later. If Casas is great, then you can try to live with Devers at 3B or have them share 1B/DH. If Mayer develops into a star in 2025, we'll worry about it then. This sort of redundancy is a feature, not a bug.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: April 07, 2022 at 05:08 PM (#6070762)
all of the projection systems on Fangraphs have him projected between 4 and 5 WAR

FWIW, I didn't look at projection systems for this one. But this is also weird. If you go to the ZiPS Red Sox page, he's projected to 3.7 WAR. If you go to the fg Devers page, it shows something called ZiPS DC at 4.4 and ZiPS at 4.5. Last year b-r had him at 3.5 WAR; fg at 4.7 with the difference being DRS vs UZR. (FWIW, statcast agrees with DRS on this one.)

Anyway, sure, if he's an average-ish 3B then he's a poor man's Chipper Jones. Anyway, Javy the last 4 years using bWAR: 6.4, 6.6, 0.8 (somehow), 4.6. Story: 6.2, 7, 2.6, 4.2. Devers: 0.2, 5.4, 0.7, 3.5

At fg ... Baez 5.4, 4.3, 0, 3.6; Story 5.1, 6.0, 2.5, 3.5; Devers 1.0, 5.9, 0.5, 4.7

Devers of course is younger, probably between Baez and Story at ages 23-24. Devers could be the next Bregman ... but I suspect Houston mildly regrets that contract now because Bregman's bat has tailed off significantly in 2020-21. Still Bregman had back-to-back 8 WAR seasons and his FA AAV was still "just" $30 M (for only 2 years). That's the leverage of the buyout of course: "we already have you for X/$Y, with no guarantee and you're taking all of the injury risk; how would you like to turn that into a guaranteed $100 M?" But if that leverage can get a guy putting up 8 WAR to settle for $30, what does it do to a guy putting up 4-5 WAR? So the logic that Baez and Story were full FAs and got only $23 AAV suggests Devers won't be getting that much. But you never know, they could go full Seager on him for all I know.

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