The Red Sox and star third baseman Rafael Devers apparently remain far apart in contract extension talks as Opening Day nears.
Earlier Wednesday evening, Hector Gomez of Z Deportes, a Dominican-based news outlet, tweeted that the Red Sox made Devers an extension offer but Devers rejected it” because it was lower than he is willing to consider.”
Shortly thereafter, MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo confirmed Gomez’s report, writing that the Sox recently made an extension offer to Devers, but the two sides are currently “very far off in negotiations.”
This news comes two days after Devers told The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier that although he and his camp have discussed a long-term deal with the Sox this spring, he did not expect an agreement to come together before Opening Day.
“We had a conversation with the team,” Devers said to 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.”
Devers is set to earn $11.2 million in 2022 after agreeing to a one-year deal to avoid salary arbitration last month. The 25-year-old All-Star remains under club control for two more years and is eligible to become a free-agent at the conclusion of the 2023 season.
A client of Rep 1 Baseball, the left-handed hitting Devers just put the finishing touches on an impressive spring in which he clubbed six home runs, collected 12 RBIs, and posted a 1.512 OPS over 12 games (32 plate appearances) in the Grapefruit League.
It would seem as though Devers is on the verge of another productive year at the plate, as Gomez also reports that the Silver Slugger Award winner has shifted his focus to the 2022 season as he looks “to further increase his market value.”
Along those same lines, Cotillo writes that Devers and the Red Sox are unlikely to engage further in extension talks prior to Opening Day on Friday, noting that the former does not want to “talk about a long-term deal once the regular season begins.”
Considering that Devers is not eligible for free agency for another two seasons, there is obviously still plenty of time for the Red Sox to get a deal done. As noted by Cotillo, these recent developments may suggest that Boston is indeed serious about locking up Devers long-term.
Although the two sides may be far apart in negotiations at the moment, Sox officials — including chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom — have made it very clear that they would like players such as Devers and Xander Bogaerts (who can opt out of his deal and become a free agent this winter) to stay in Boston for the foreseeable future.
(Picture of Rafael Devers: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)