Red Sox agree to one-year, $7 million deal with outfielder Adam Duvall

The Red Sox and free agent outfielder Adam Duvall have agreed to terms on a one-year contract for the 2023 season, as was first reported by Craig Mish of the Miami Herald.

According to Mish, Duvall will receive a base salary of $7 million in 2023 and will have the chance to earn an additional $3 million in performance bonuses. Those bonuses are based on number of plate appearances and could take the total value of the deal up to $10 million, per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

Duvall, 34, batted .213/.276/.401 with 16 doubles, one triple, 12 home runs, 36 RBIs, 39 runs scored, 21 walks, and 101 strikeouts in 86 games (315 plate appearances) with the Braves last year. The right-handed hitter was shut down in July due to a torn tendon sheath in his left wrist that ultimately required season-ending surgery.

A native of Kentucky, Duvall was originally selected by the Giants in the 11th round of the 2010 amateur draft out of the University of Louisville. He broke in with San Francisco in 2014 and was then traded to the Reds in a package for veteran starter Mike Leake the following July.

With Cincinnati, Duvall was able to establish himself as a power threat from the right side of the plate. He hit 33 home runs and collected 103 RBIs in the process of being named to his first All-Star team in 2016 and then followed that up by putting together a 31-homer, 99-RBI campaign in 2017.

After a tough start to the 2018 season, the Reds traded Duvall to the Braves that July. He spent the next 2 1/2 years with Atlanta before becoming a free agent for the first time and signing a one-year deal with the Marlins in February 2021. Duvall bounced back in Miami and was then dealt back to Atlanta ahead of the trade deadline that year.

In 146 combined games between the Marlins and Braves in 2021, Duvall slashed .228/.281/.491 with 17 doubles, two triples, a career-high 38 home runs, a National League-best 113 RBIs, 67 runs scored, five stolen bases, 35 walks, and 174 strikeouts across 555 total trips to the plate. He also helped Atlanta win a World Series title that fall and took home his first Gold Glove Award for his defensive work in right field.

All told, Duvall is a lifetime .230/.289/.465 hitter with 163 career homers under his belt in 830 games with the Giants, Reds, Braves, and Marlins. In postseason play, Duvall owns a career line of .200/.247/.400 with five homers and 18 runs driven in across 27 total games. He has the kind of swing that could play well at Fenway Park, where he has gone 6-for-18 (.333) in his career with four home runs in four games. Three of those long balls came in the same contest during the COVID-shortened 2020 season.

With Xander Bogaerts opting to sign with the Padres in free agency and Trevor Story slated to miss the start of the 2022 season after undergoing right elbow surgery earlier this month, the Red Sox needed to inject some power back into a lineup that hit the seventh-fewest home runs (155) in the American League last year.

While the absences of both Bogaerts and Story made it seem as though the Red Sox would pursue middle infield help before the start of spring training, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. have instead elected to solidify their outfield mix. With Duvall expected to regularly man center field alongside fellow free agent signee Masataka Yoshida in left and Alex Verdugo in right, Enrique Hernandez seems primed to move back to the infield after serving as Boston’s everyday center fielder for the better part of the last two seasons.

For his part, Duvall has prior experience at all three outfield positions. Last year, the 6-foot-1, 215-pounder logged 237 1/3 innings in left, 382 innings in center, and 90 innings in right. As far as the metrics are concerned, Duvall ranked in the 88th percentile of all big-league outfielders in outs above average (+5). He also ranked in the 79th percentile in arm strength (averaged 89.1 mph on his throws), the 74th percentile in outfield jump, and the 67th percentile in sprint speed, per Baseball Savant.

The Red Sox, per Cotillo, are fully confident in Duvall’s ability to play center field. Depending on what Boston does between now and Opening Day, Hernandez and Verdugo represent possible fallback options down the line. The same can be said for Jarren Duran and Rob Refsnyder as well.

Duvall, who turns 35 in September, becomes the seventh major-league free agent addition the Red Sox have made this winter, joining the likes of starter Corey Kluber, relievers Kenley Jansen, Chris Martin, and Joely Rodriguez, infielder/designated hitter Justin Turner, and Yoshida. Of these seven, only Yoshida received more than two guaranteed years on his deal.

As currently constructed, the Red Sox’ 40-man roster is at full capacity. So they will have to clear a spot for Duvall once he passes his physical and his signing can be made official.

(Picture of Adam Duvall: Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

Red Sox officially sign two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber

The Red Sox have officially signed right-hander Corey Kluber to a one-year contract for the 2023 season that includes a club option for 2024, the team announced on Thursday. In order to make room for Kluber on the 40-man roster, fellow righty Connor Seabold was designated for assignment.

Kluber agreed to a one-year deal with Boston late last month after spending the 2022 season with the Rays. The 36-year-old will receive a base salary of $10 million in 2023 but will have the chance to earn an additional $2 million in performance bonuses if he makes 30 more starts.

If Kluber does make 30 or more starts this coming season, the value of his club option for 2024 increases from $11 million to $13 million. If the Red Sox exercise the option and Kluber makes 30-plus starts in 2024, he would be in line to receive $2 million in performance bonuses.

All told, Kluber will make $10 million in guaranteed money this year. If all bonuses are reached and the option is picked up, his deal can max out at $27 million ($12 million in 2023 and $15 million in 2024) over the next two seasons.

Kluber, who turns 37 in April, posted a 4.34 ERA and 3.57 FIP with 139 strikeouts to 21 walks over 31 starts (164 innings) for Tampa Bay last season. His 3.1 percent walk rate ranked first among qualified pitchers while his 38.8 chase rate ranked third, per FanGraphs.

A native of Alabama, Kluber was originally selected by the Padres in the fourth round of the 2007 amateur draft out of Stetson University (DeLand, Fla.). He was dealt to Cleveland as part of a three-team trade in July 2010 and broke in with the Guardians (then the Indians) the following September.

While in Cleveland, Kluber established himself as one of the most dominant starting pitchers in the American League. He won his first Cy Young Award in 2014 and took home his second in 2017 in the process of making three straight All-Star teams from 2016-2018.

After injuries limited him to just seven starts in 2019, Kluber was traded to the Rangers in exchange for outfielder Delino DeShields and reliever Enmanuel Clase that December. He made just one start for Texas during the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign before being shut down with a torn right teres muscle.

Kluber reemerged with the Yankees in 2021 and pitched to a 3.83 ERA (3.85 FIP) in 16 starts (80 innings) for New York. A right shoulder strain kept him sidelined from May 27 through August 30 of that year, but the Red Sox still tried to sign him before he inked a one-year pact with the Rays last December.

To his credit, Kluber avoided the injured list completely in 2022 while seeing his most action since 2018. The 6-foot-4, 252-pound hurler averaged 86.3 mph with his cutter, 80.7 mph with his curveball, 88.9 mph with his sinker, 82.9 mph with his changeup, and 88.9 mph with his four-seam fastball, per Baseball Savant.

Kluber makes his offseason home in Winchester, Mass. (where his wife, Amanda, is from) and has long been a logical fit for Boston given the local connections. In the wake of Nathan Eovaldi (Rangers) and Rich Hill (Pirates) leaving in free agency, Kluber is now slated to join a Red Sox rotation mix that includes Chris Sale, Nick Pivetta, Garrett Whitlock, James Paxton, Brayan Bello, and maybe even Tanner Houck.

For his major-league career, which spans 12 seasons with four teams (Guardians, Rangers, Yankees, and Rays), Kluber owns a lifetime 3.31 ERA and 3.09 FIP with 1,683 strikeouts to 347 walks across 256 appearances (251 starts) spanning 1,586 2/3 innings of work. He has also forged a 4.02 ERA in 47 career postseason innings between Cleveland and Tampa Bay.

Kluber, who spoke with reporters over Zoom earlier Thursday afternoon, will wear the No. 28 with the Red Sox, which was last worn by designated hitter J.D. Martinez.

(Picture of Corey Kluber: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Red Sox ‘can’t bank on’ Trevor Story playing in 2023 after infielder undergoes elbow surgery, Chaim Bloom says

The Red Sox will be without Trevor Story to begin the 2023 season. That much we know. What we do not know is how much time he will wind up missing, or if he will be able to play at all.

Story underwent an internal bracing procedure to repair the right ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow on Monday. When speaking with reporters on Tuesday, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom did not provide a specific timetable for Story’s return, though he did express optimism that the infielder will be back in Boston’s lineup at some point this year.

“We’re not ready to put a timetable on it yet,” Bloom told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo) over Zoom. “I certainly would not rule out a return sometime during 2023 but it’s also not something, at this stage, that we want to bank on. It will take how long it takes. We want to make sure he’s 100 percent. Certainly, with this being an internal brace procedure and not a Tommy John, it does leave the door open for a return this season.”

The procedure Story underwent is considered to be an alternative to Tommy John surgery since it typically takes less time to recover from. In a conversation with The Boston Globe, however, Dr. Jeffrey Dugas of the Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center — who performed the first internal brace procedure back in 2023 — said Story’s recovery period could last anywhere between six to nine months.

“It’s a procedure we have a lot of confidence in, but it’s still, in the scheme of things, a relatively new procedure,” Bloom said. “We don’t have decades and decades of sample to see exactly to be able to pin it down to the day or the week like in some cases, you feel like you can with a full Tommy John. We’ll just see how it plays out. I think the worst thing we can do is rush him to adhere to some arbitrary timetable. Knowing Trevor, he’s going to push us and he wants to be out there. But we’ll have to let it play out.”

Story, 30, signed a six-year, $140 million contract with the Red Sox last March. In the first year of that deal, the right-handed hitter batted .238/.303/.434 with 22 doubles, 16 home runs, 66 RBIs, 53 runs scored, 13 stolen bases, 32 walks, and 122 strikeouts over 94 games (396 plate appearances). He was limited to just 94 games due to a right hand contusion that kept him sidelined from July 13 through August 27 and a left heel contusion that kept him sidelined from September 22 through the end of the 2022 campaign.

Prior to signing with the Red Sox, Story had dealt with right elbow inflammation while with the Rockies in 2021. Though he did not experience any elbow issues this past season, Story still saw the average velocity of his throws drop from 79.1 mph as a shortstop in 2021 to 76.1 mph as a second baseman in 2022. That 76.1 mph figure ranked ranked 61st among 70 qualified second basemen, per Baseball Savant.

Despite any concerns the Red Sox may have had with that dip in velocity, Bloom said surgery for Story was not under consideration until just recently.

“Obviously recognizing that his throwing has not been what it was in the past, everything when we did the physical when we signed him looked good and he felt good throughout the season,” Bloom said (via MLB.com’s Molly Burkhardt). “This, what he experienced in this incident, was something new.”

Story, per Bloom, first started to experience pain in his throwing elbow when he began ramping up his offseason throwing program shortly before Christmas. That prompted him to visit Dr. Keith Meister in the Dallas-area before flying to Boston to undergo further evaluation. After being evaluated by Red Sox team doctors, it became apparent that surgery was the best option for Story. The procedure was ultimately performed by Meister at Texas Metroplex Institute in Arlington.

As things stand now, Story remains at home in Texas. But he is expected to complete the early parts of his rehab in Fort Myers once spring training begins next month. Bloom also indicated that Story would continue to rehab with the Red Sox during the early part of the season, which begins on March 30.

“He has already said he wants to be around our people and around the team as much as he can,” said Bloom.

Story had been preparing to be the Red Sox’ starting shortstop come Opening Day. While that is no longer possible, there is a chance the two-time Silver Slugger Award winner could return sooner than expected and DH for Boston. That, of course, is dependent on how his recovery goes and the number of moves Bloom and Co. make between now and late March.

“We’re so early in this process that we haven’t made any kind of firm decision on that,” Bloom said. “So much of what Trevor brings to the table has to do with things he does outside of the batter’s box. That’s obviously a lot of the value that he brings. We don’t want to do anything to compromise him getting back at full strength to be able to bring all that value. I wouldn’t rule that out.”

Story, who does not turn 31 until November, is under club control through the end of the 2028 season. Regardless of when he is able to return to the field, the Red Sox are hopeful that Story will be able to put his elbow issues behind him and make his impact felt on both sides of the ball.

“Knowing that the arm strength had been trending not in a good direction prior to this, that wasn’t in-and-of itself reason for us to believe surgery would be needed until this latest incident,” said Bloom. “We’re certainly hopeful (he will be healthy) going forward. But even with what he was bringing to the table last season, I would say this guy was the best defensive second baseman in the game and one of the best defensive infielders.”

(Picture of Trevor Story: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Trevor Story undergoes right elbow surgery

Red Sox infielder Trevor Story underwent a successful internal bracing procedure of the right ulnar collateral ligament (elbow) on Monday, the club announced earlier Tuesday afternoon. The surgery was performed by Dr. Keith Meister at Texas Metroplex Institute in Arlington, Texas.

Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom did not provide a timetable for when Story could return to action, but the 30-year-old is expected to be sidelined well into the 2023 season. That being the case because the recovery period for his procedure, which is considered to be a modified version of Tommy John Surgery, typically ranges between four to six months.

Story missed time with right elbow inflammation while with the Rockies in 2021 but did not experience any such issues as he shifted from shortstop to second base with the Red Sox in 2022. He did, however, miss a significant amount of time due to other injuries, such as a right hand contusion that kept him sidelined from July 13 until August 27 and a left heel contusion that kept him sidelined from September 11 through the end of the season.

All told, Story was limited to just 94 games last year. The right-handed hitter batted .238/.303/.434 with 22 doubles, 16 home runs, 66 RBIs, 53 runs scored, 13 stolen bases, 32 walks, and 122 strikeouts over 396 plate appearances in the first year of a six-year, $140 million contract he signed last March.

Defensively, Story made 92 starts and logged 813 2/3 innings at second base for Boston. The 6-foot-2, 213-pounder graded well in terms of Defensive Runs Saved (+6) and Outs Above Average (+10), but there were some concerns about his arm strength. Per Baseball Savant, Story averaged 76.1 mph on his throws last season, which ranked 61st among 70 qualified second basemen and was down from his 79.1 mph average velocity as a shortstop in 2021.

Because the Red Sox lost Xander Bogaerts to the Padres in free agency last month, all signs pointed to Story becoming Boston’s everyday shortstop in 2023. This latest development will obviously prevent that from happening, at least to start the season. It may also lead to Bloom and Co. further exploring the free agent and trade market in order to bolster the club’s infield depth up the middle.

Internally, Christian Arroyo and Enrique Hernandez are two candidates who could take over for Story at second base, though the Red Sox would almost certainly prefer to keep Hernandez in center field. Elsewhere on the 40-man roster, Ceddanne Rafaela, Enmanuel Valdez, and David Hamilton all have infield experience in the minor-leagues, but neither of the three have yet to make their major-league debuts.

Regardless of which direction they go in to fill the void left by Story, the Red Sox undoubtedly have their work cut out for them with spring training set to begin in five weeks.

(Picture of Trevor Story: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Former Red Sox first baseman Eric Hosmer agrees to deal with Cubs, per report

Former Red Sox first baseman Eric Hosmer has agreed to a one-year contract with the Cubs, according to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers. Jon Heyman of The New York Post first reported that the two sides were close to a deal on Tuesday night.

Hosmer, 33, was released by the Red Sox on December 22 after being designated for assignment six days prior. The decision to designate Hosmer served two purposes as it cleared a 40-man roster spot for newly-acquired reliever Wyatt Mills and served as a vote of confidence for rookie first baseman Triston Casas heading into 2023.

“Our roster isn’t complete yet, but as we build our club, we feel it’s important to give Triston a clear lane, and that carrying two left-handed hitting first basemen would leave us short in other areas,” chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom told MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo last month. “Given that, it’s important to do right by Eric and give him time to find his next opportunity. We knew when we first got him that this day would come at some point, and wanted to make sure we treated him right.”

Boston acquired Hosmer (as well as minor-leaguers Corey Rosier and Max Ferguson) from the Padres in exchange for pitching prospect Jay Groome in early August. As part of the deal, San Diego agreed to pay the remainder of Hosmer’s contract down to the major-league minimum.

Hosmer was brought in to provide the Red Sox with some stability at first base but was limited to just 14 games with the club due to a bout with low back inflammation that required a lengthy stint on the injured list. While Hosmer was sidelined, Casas was called up from Triple-A Worcester and played well in his first taste of big-league action.

Casas’ performance down the stretch allowed for the Red Sox to move on from Hosmer without any real hesitation. Boston made an attempt to trade the Boras Corp. client while he was on waivers, but that never came to fruition and he was instead released.

In his 14 games with the Red Sox, Hosmer went 11-for-45 (.245) with three doubles and four RBIs. Between San Diego and Boston last year, the former Royals All-Star batted .268/.334/.382 with 19 doubles, eight home runs, 44 runs driven in, 38 runs scored, 37 walks, and 64 strikeouts across 104 games spanning 419 total trips to the plate.

Hosmer, who does not turn 34 until October, reportedly drew interest from the Marlins and Orioles in free agency before ultimately agreeing to sign with the Cubs. Chicago will only be responsible for paying Hosmer the league minimum in 2023 since the Padres are still on the hook for the remaining three years and $39 million of the eight-year, $144 million contract he originally signed in February 2018.

With all that being said, Hosmer becomes the latest member of the 2022 Red Sox to sign elsewhere as a free agent this winter. He joins the likes of Matt Strahm (Phillies), Xander Bogaerts (Padres), J.D. Martinez (Dodgers), Rich Hill (Pirates), and Nathan Eovaldi (Rangers). Michael Wacha remains unsigned, though his market could soon be heating up.

(Picture of Eric Hosmer: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Red Sox, Rafael Devers agree to 11-year, $331 million contract extension

The Red Sox and third baseman Rafael Devers have agreed to terms on an 11-year, $331 million contract extension, as was first reported by former major-leaguer Carlos Baerga on Instagram earlier Wednesday afternoon.

The deal, which is still pending a physical and has not yet been finalized, runs from 2023 to 2033, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. Alex Speier of The Boston Globe relays that the contract does not include any opt-outs while Jon Heyman of the New York Post adds that it does not contain a no-trade clause.

Devers, 26, will receive $20 million upfront in the form of a signing bonus, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. He will then earn $17.5 million in 2023 after agreeing to a one-year deal of that amount on Tuesday in order to avoid salary arbitration. All told, Devers’ contract represents the largest and longest in Red Sox history, blowing well past the seven-year, $217 million pact David Price signed in December 2015 and the eight-year, $160 million deal Manny Ramirez inked in Dec. 2000.

In terms of total value, the $331 million commitment is the sixth-largest in league history, as it surpasses Bryce Harper’s $330 million deal with the Phillies and slots in behind Mike Trout’s $426.5 million deal with the Angels, Mookie Betts’ $365 million deal with the Dodgers, Aaron Judge’s $360 million deal with the Yankees, Francisco Lindor’s $341 million deal with the Mets, and Fernando Tatis Jr.’s $340 million deal with the Padres.

Prior to Wednesday’s agreement, Devers was slated to become a free agent for the first time in his big-league career next winter. After trading Betts to the Dodgers in February 2020 and losing Xander Bogaerts to the Padres in free agency last month, the Red Sox could ill-afford to watch another homegrown superstar take his talents elsewhere. While they ultimately came up short in extension talks with Betts and Bogaerts, they were able to get a deal done with Devers.

A client of REP1 Baseball, Devers originally signed with the Red Sox for $1.5 million as a highly-touted international free agent coming out of the Dominican Republic in July 2013. The Sanchez native quickly established himself as one of the top prospects in baseball and broke in with Boston at the age of 20 in July 2017.

Since debuting for the Red Sox, Devers — now a veteran of six major-league seasons — has compiled a lifetime slash line of .283/.342/.512 to go along with 187 doubles, 139 home runs, 455 RBIs, and 439 runs scored over 689 career games. He won his first World Series title in 2018, took home his first Silver Slugger Award in 2021, and is a two-time All-Star.

Devers has proven to be particularly effective in the month of October. To go along with his World Series ring from 2018, Devers owns a career .303/.382/.573 line with eight home runs, 26 RBIs, and 27 runs scored in 26 postseason contests. He clubbed five homers in 11 games during Boston’s run to the American League Championship Series in 2021.

Last year, Devers batted .295/.358/.521 with 42 doubles, one triple, 27 homers, 88 runs driven in, 84 runs scored, three stolen bases, 50 walks, and 114 strikeouts across 141 games (614 plate appearances). The left-handed hitting slugger appeared to be well on his way to an MVP-caliber campaign after receiving his second straight All-Star nod, but he was sidelined by right hamstring inflammation in late July/early August and his second-half production (.713 OPS in 55 games) took a hit as a result of him trying to play through it.

Regardless of how his 2022 season ended, though, Devers has squarely put himself in the conversation for the best offensive third basemen in the game. Since the start of the 2019 campaign, Devers leads all qualified American League hitters in total hits (591) and doubles (149). He also ranks fourth in home runs (108), second in RBIs (359), second in runs scored (346), eighth in batting average (.292), 20th in on-base percentage (.352), seventh in slugging percentage (.532), sixth in OPS (.884), 17th in isolated power (.240), and 15th in wRC+ (132), per FanGraphs.

On the other side of the ball, there are some concerns about Devers’ defensive abilities at third base. In 2022, the 6-foot, 240-pounder logged 1,186 innings at the hot corner and graded poorly in several categories, including Defensive Runs Saved (-6), Outs Above Average (-2), and Ultimate Zone Rating (-2.3). With that being said, the Red Sox can surely live with Devers’ occasional struggles on the field so long as he continues to produce at the plate at a high level.

Devers, who turns 27 in October, is now slated to remain in Boston through the end of his age-36 season in 2033. His $331 million contract is by far the largest handed out by chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom since he took over in Oct. 2019. Bloom had recently expressed a desire to keep Devers in a Red Sox uniform beyond 2023.

“He has been somebody that we love and want right at the center of everything we hope to accomplish, obviously in 2023 but more importantly, in the years beyond,” Bloom told MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo last month. “Because those are the years he’s not under our control. We’re hoping to change that.”

Getting an extension done with Devers represents another milestone in what has already been an eventful offseason for Bloom and Co. While the likes of Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez, and Nathan Eovaldi have signed elsewhere as free agents, the Red Sox have added a number of veterans — such as Corey Kluber, Justin Turner, Kenley Jansen, and Chris Martin on short-term deals. They also dipped into the international market by signing Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida to a five-year, $90 million contract at the Winter Meetings.

With Devers locked in for the next decade-plus, the Red Sox now have a franchise cornerstone they can build around as they look to put a disappointing and forgetful 2022 behind them.

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Red Sox, Rafael Devers avoid arbitration by agreeing to $17.5 million deal for 2023 season

The Red Sox and third baseman Rafael Devers have agreed to terms on a one-year contract for the 2023 season, thus avoiding salary arbitration, the club announced earlier Tuesday afternoon. The deal is worth $17.5 million, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Devers was projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn $16.9 million in his third and final year of arbitration eligibility. The 26-year-old will instead receive a 56.3 percent raise from the $11.2 million he took home in 2022.

In 141 games for the Red Sox last season, Devers batted .295/.358/.521 with 42 doubles, one triple, 27 home runs, 88 RBIs, 84 runs scored, three stolen bases, 50 walks, and 114 strikeouts over 614 plate appearances. The left-handed hitter made his second straight All-Star team and finished 14th in American League MVP voting despite being hindered a right hamstring injury throughout the second half of the campaign.

Defensively, Devers logged 1,186 innings at third base in 2022. The 6-foot, 240-pound infielder was worth negative-six defensive runs saved and negative-two outs above average at the hot corner, per FanGraphs.

A native of the Dominican Republic, Devers originally signed with Boston as a highly-touted international free agent in August 13. After establishing himself as one of baseball’s top prospects, the young slugger made his major-league debut at the age of 20 in July 2017.

Since then, Devers has compiled a .283/.342/.512 slash line to go along with 139 home runs and 455 RBIs in 689 career games with the Red Sox across six big-league seasons. In addition to being a two-time All-Star, Devers won his first World Series title in 2018 and his first Silver Slugger Award in 2021.

Devers, who turns 27 in October, is currently slated to become a free agent for the first time in his career at the conclusion of the 2023 season. The Red Sox have made it clear that they would like to sign one of their franchise cornerstones to a long-term contract extension, especially after shortstop Xander Bogaerts left for the Padres in free agency last month.

“He has been somebody that we love and want right at the center of everything we hope to accomplish, obviously in 2023 but more importantly, in the years beyond,” chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said of Devers in a recent conversation with MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo. “Because those are the years he’s not under our control. We’re hoping to change that.”

While Bloom and Co. have expressed a desire to retain Devers beyond 2023, they are running out of time do so. Last month, The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier reported that Devers — who is represented by REP1 Baseball — would not entertain any extension negotiations during the regular season, meaning an agreement would have to be reached by the end of spring training.

It remains to be seen how close the two sides are to a long-term deal at this point. With that being said, though, avoiding arbitration could prove to be a step in the right direction for both player and club.

With Devers locked in for 2023, the Red Sox have six remaining players who are eligible for salary arbitration in right-handers Ryan Brasier and Nick Pivetta, left-hander Josh Taylor, catcher Reese McGuire, infielder Christian Arroyo, and outfielder Alex Verdugo.

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Marlins have targeted Triston Casas in trade talks with Red Sox, per report

The Red Sox have emerged as a potential trade partner for the Marlins, according to a recent report from Barry Jackson and Craig Mish of the Miami Herald.

The Marlins, per Jackson and Mish, are interested in acquiring first baseman Triston Casas from the Red Sox and would apparently be open “to dealing a significant player on their roster” in order to do so.

Casas, who turns 23 later this month, batted .197/.358/.408 with one double, five home runs, 12 RBIs, 11 runs scored, one stolen base, 19 walks, and 23 strikeouts in his first 27 games (95 plate appearances) with Boston last season after being called up from Triple-A Worcester in early September.

The Red Sox originally selected Casas — a Miami-area native — with the 26th overall pick in the first round of the 2018 amateur draft out of American Heritage High School in nearby Plantation, Fla. The Marlins owned the 13th overall selection in that summer’s draft and could have selected Casas, but they instead took high school outfielder Connor Scott.

It seems as though Miami is now regretting its decision and would not be against bringing in Casas to inject some life into a lineup that scored the fewest runs per game (3.62) in the National League last year. While the Marlins struggled offensively in 2022, their starting pitching was an area of strength. As such, Miami — as noted by Jackson and Mish — could look to deal from its surplus of arms in order to make a trade happen.

While reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Sandy Alcantara and top prospect Eury Perez are believed to be off limits, the Marlins do have several intriguing rotation options. Jackson and Mish, in particular, list right-handers Pablo Lopez and Edward Cabrera and left-hander Trevor Rogers as pitchers Miami would need to include in a deal for a player such as Casas.

Lopez, 27 in March, posted a 3.75 ERA and 3.71 FIP with 174 strikeouts to 53 walks in 32 starts (180 innings) for the Marlins last season. The native Venezuelan is under club control through the end of the 2024 campaign. Cabrera, 25 in April, pitched to a 3.01 ERA (4.59 FIP) with 75 strikeouts to 33 walks in 14 starts (71 2/3 innings) for Miami last year. The Dominican native is under team control through 2028.

Rogers, on the other hand, turned 25 in November and is coming off a 2022 season in which he struggled to the tune of a 5.43 ERA (4.35 FIP) with 106 strikeouts to 45 walks over 23 starts spanning 107 innings of work. The southpaw was limited to just four outings after July 25 due to a bout with back spasms and a season-ending left lat strain sustained on Sept. 17.

Prior to that, though, Rogers made some noise in his first full season with the Marlins in 2021 by earning an All-Star selection and finishing second in National League Rookie of the Year voting. The former first-round draft pick out of Carlsbad High School in New Mexico is under club control through the end of the 2026 season.

If the Marlins are serious about trading for Casas, it would likely take more than a one-for-one swap involving one of the three aforementioned pitchers. Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. should have no real motivation to move Casas, who is not eligible for salary arbitration until 2026 and is under team control through 2028. That is particularly true after Boston released veteran first baseman Eric Hosmer last month when it could have retained him as an insurance policy for Casas.

With Hosmer out of the picture, Casas currently projects as the Red Sox’ everyday first baseman this coming season. If the Sox were to trade the left-handed hitter, Christian Arroyo, Bobby Dalbec, and Justin Turner all represent in-house options to take over starting first base duties.

While the chances of the Red Sox dealing Casas this winter seem low, it goes without saying that they could use more controllable starting pitching. In response to losing Nathan Eovaldi to the Rangers and Rich Hill to the Pirates in free agency, Boston agreed to a one-year deal with veteran starter Corey Kluber last week.

Kluber, who turns 37 in April, figures to join a rotation mix that includes Chris Sale, James Paxton, Nick Pivetta, Brayan Bello, Garrett Whitlock, and possibly even Tanner Houck. Plenty of question marks pop up when going over this group since Kluber and Sale are no longer the workhorses they used to be, Paxton has not made a start since April 2021, Pivetta has proven to be inconsistent at times, and Bello, Whitlock, and Houck are all still relatively young.

In short, it’s a starting rotation that has boom-or-bust potential and adding on to it via trade certainly wouldn’t hurt. Given the likelihood of the Red Sox’ not wanting to move Casas, Jackson and Mish report that Ceddanne Rafaela is another Boston prospect the Marlins have their eyes on.

Rafaela, 22, was added to the Sox’ 40-man roster in November after a standout season between High-A Greenville and Double-A Portland. He is currently regarded by MLB Pipeline as Boston’s No. 3 prospect and possesses the ability to play both center field and shortstop at a high level defensively.

While Casas has already seemingly put himself in position to be part of the Red Sox’ plans in 2023, the same cannot be said for Rafeala, who has yet to play at the Triple-A level and still requires further development as far as his plate discipline is concerned.

Having said that, Jackson and Mish relay that the Marlins are prioritizing making improvements to their big-league roster as opposed to their farm system this offseason. Though Rafaela is undoubtedly talented, he figures to be more of a factor in the majors in 2024 unlike the already-MLB-ready Casas.

This is not the first time the Red Sox and Marlins have been linked in trade rumors this winter. Last month, Chad Jennings of The Athletic reported that the two clubs had discussions involving infielder Joey Wendle. Shortly thereafter, Ken Rosenthal (also of The Athletic) wrote that Boston had also asked Miami about fellow veteran infielder Miguel Rojas.

Both Wendle and Rojas turn 34 before the end of April and will be eligible for free agency at the end of the 2023 season. Either one would provide the Red Sox with experienced infield depth.

To put this all together, it seems like a larger, multi-player swap between the Red Sox and Marlins has at least been discussed in recent weeks. That is not to say a trade is imminent, but it should be interesting to see if the two sides can get together on a possible deal before Opening Day in late March.

(Picture of Triston Casas: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Red Sox agree to one-year deal with two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber

The Red Sox have agreed to terms on a one-year contract with free agent right-hander Corey Kluber, as was first reported by ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The deal, which is pending a physical, comes with a club option for 2024 as well.

According to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, Kluber will earn $10 million in 2023. Jon Heyman of the New York Post reports that the option is worth $11 million and the deal includes additional incentive bonuses.

Per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, Kluber’s 2023 salary can increase to $10.5 million if he makes 20 starts, $11.25 million if he makes 25 starts, and $12 million if he makes 30 or more starts next season. The value of his option for 2024, which does not come with a buyout, increases to $11.5 million if he makes 20 starts, $12.25 million if he makes 25 starts, and $13 million if he makes 30 starts.

“The contract then stipulates that those bonuses carry over to 2024 if the option is exercised,” Cotillo wrote on Wednesday. “Kluber would be due the same bonuses based on games started in 2024 (maxing out at $2 million).”

All told, Kluber’s deal with the Red Sox can max out at $27 million over two years ($12 million in 2023 and $15 million in 2024) if he makes 30-plus starts in 2023, has his option picked up, and then makes 30 or more starts again in 2024.

Kluber, who turns 37 in April, spent the 2022 season with the Rays after signing a one-year, $8 million pact with the club last December. In 31 starts for Tampa Bay, the veteran righty posted a 4.34 ERA — but much more respectable 3.57 FIP — with 139 strikeouts to 21 walks over 164 innings of work.

The Red Sox have been interested in signing Kluber in each of the last two offseasons but were ultimately unable to secure his services. Prior to his one season with the Rays, Kluber spent the 2021 campaign with the Yankees. This time around, however, Boston was able to land one of its top targets one day after fellow starters Nathan Eovaldi and Rich Hill agreed to deals with the Rangers and Pirates, respectively.

Kluber, who lives in Winchester, Mass. (where his wife, Amanda, is from) during the winter, is now slated to join a starting rotation mix in Boston that already consists of Brayan Bello, Chris Sale, Garrett Whitlock, James Paxton, Nick Pivetta, and possibly even Tanner Houck heading into the 2023 season. While the Red Sox were unable to bring back Eovaldi, they were previously interested in a reunion with Michael Wacha, though the addition of Kluber may have altered those plans.

A former fourth-round draft pick of the Padres coming out of Stetson University (DeLand, Fla.) in 2007, Kluber was traded to the Guardians in 2010 and first broke in with Cleveland the following September. As part of a nine-year tenure with that franchise, Kluber made three All-Star teams and won the American League Cy Young Award in 2014 and 2017.

The Guardians traded Kluber to the Rangers in Dec. 2019. He was limited to just one start with Texas during the COVID-shortened 2020 season due to a tear in his right teres muscle. Kluber left the Rangers for the Yankees last January and has since forged a 4.17 ERA (3.66 FIP) over 47 starts (244 innings) in his short stays in the Bronx and St. Petersburg.

For his big-league career, which spans 12 seasons and four teams (Cleveland, Texas, New York, and Tampa Bay), Kluber owns a lifetime 3.31 ERA and 3.09 FIP to go along with 1,683 strikeouts to 347 walks across 256 appearances (251 starts) spanning 1,586 2/3 innings pitched. He has also produced a 4.02 ERA in 47 career postseason innings.

Listed at 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, Kluber operates with a five-pitch mix that consists of a mid-80s cutter, a low-80s curveball, a high-80s sinker, a low-80s changeup, and a high-80s four-seam fastball. This past season, he ranked in the 99th percentile of the league in walk rate (3.1 percent) and the 96th percentile in chase rate (35.7 percent), per Baseball Savant.

Kluber becomes the sixth major-league free agent the Red Sox have signed so far this winter, joining the likes of relievers Kenley Jansen, Chris Martin, and Joely Rodriguez, outfielder Masataka Yoshida, and infielder/designated hitter Justin Turner. As noted by Cotillo, Kluber, Jansen, Martin, and Turner are all 35 years of age or older.

As things stand now, Boston’s 40-man roster is currently at full capacity. The signings of Kluber and Turner have yet to be made official, so chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. will need to clear at least two spots before those announcements can be made.

(Picture of Corey Kluber: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Triston Casas provides update on knee injury, looks ahead to 2023

Nearly 10 weeks after a bout with knee soreness resulted in him being pulled out of the Dominican Winter League, Red Sox first baseman Triston Casas says he is in good spirits.

“The knee is feeling better,” Casas told Joe McDonald of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette on Friday. “It was a little bit of a scare when I was in the Dominican. I tried to play through it a little bit, assuming that it was just a kink because I hadn’t played in 10 days between the end of the big league season and the first game of that season.”

The Red Sox sent Casas to play winter ball in the Dominican in an effort to get him more at-bats. The 22-year-old went 2-for-9 (.222) with five RBIs in his first three games with the Tigres del Licey before being shut down in mid-October. He flew back to Boston shortly thereafter and underwent an MRI that revealed no structural damage.

While there was initially some optimism that Casas would be able to return to Licey’s lineup, that ultimately never happened and he instead recuperated from home in Florida.

“It healed up well,” Casas said in regards to resting his knee. “I’m starting to run, starting to sprint and progressing back to pretty much being 100-percent healthy.”

At home with his family in Pembroke Pines, Casas has begun incorporating more baseball activities into his offseason workouts as he prepares for the start of spring training in February.

“I’m progressing well with all my workouts and my swing progression has been on point,” said Casas. “I’m starting to incorporate some defensive drills. Defense for me is a lot of footwork, so I’ve been working on my agility and I’m confident it will translate onto the field.”

Casas, who turns 23 next month, enters the 2023 season ranked by Baseball America as the No. 2 prospect in Boston’s farm system. The left-handed hitter made his major-league debut in September and displayed quality plate discipline in the process of batting .197/.358/.408 with one double, five home runs, 12 RBIs, 11 runs scored, one stolen base, 19 walks, and 23 strikeouts in his first 27 games (95 plate appearances) with the Red Sox.

Because of what he showed down the stretch this year, the Red Sox now view Casas as their first baseman of the future. They made that much clear when they designated fellow left-handed hitting first baseman Eric Hosmer for assignment last week and officially released him on Thursday.

“Our roster isn’t complete yet,” chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said in a recent conversation with MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo. “But as we build our club, we feel it’s important to give Triston a clear lane, and that carrying two left-handed hitting first basemen would leave us short in other areas.”

Despite that vote of confidence from the club’s top decision maker, Casas understands that he will still have to earn the starting job at first base once he reports to Fort Myers. At the same time, though, the former first-round draft pick out of American Heritage High School in 2018 looks at his past track record in the minors as a reason why he should find success in the majors.

“It gives me chills just thinking about it,” Casas said. “It’s something I’ve been working towards for a very long time. I feel really confident that I’m going to do well. At this point in my career I’ve been able to succeed at every level and I don’t anticipate the major-leagues being any different. I make adjustments really well and I’m ready.”

Casas very well could have debuted for the Red Sox before rosters expanded in September, but he missed a significant amount of time (roughly two months) while with Triple-A Worcester due to a high right ankle sprain sustained in mid-May. That was one of the reasons why he went to play winter ball in the Dominican.

“Initially, I was really upset because I felt like I was on the verge of getting into a groove and potentially making a case to make the (big-league) roster,” said Casas. “But (the injury) put everything into perspective.”

After a brief rehab assignment in the Florida Complex League, Casas returned to Worcester on July 22. He slashed a stout .296/.404/.504 with five homers and 16 RBIs while playing above-average defense at first in 36 games (161 plate appearances) with the WooSox before getting called up to Boston on Sept. 4.

Although his surface level numbers — such as a .766 OPS — don’t necessarily jump off the chart, Casas did impress when it came to driving the ball to all fields as well as taking ball four. His 20.0 percent walk rate, for instance, ranked first among all American League rookies who made at least 90 trips to the plate in 2022, per FanGraphs.

The Red Sox were encouraged by Casas’ patient approach, among other things, which is why they felt comfortable enough to move on from Hosmer. That being said, there are some concerns when it comes to Casas’ durability seeing he dealt with two lower-body injuries this year alone. In an effort to combat these issues which have hindered his ability to swing a bat in the past, the 6-foot-5, 255-pounder noted that he has been trying to find the ideal playing weight for himself moving forward.

“During the season you lose weight, but right now I feel good where I’m at,” Casas said. “I’m going to try to stay at this weight, continue to get stronger and more agile and faster at this weight. My swing feels strong and fast, so I don’t feel the need to go on a diet, or try to bulk up at this point of my career. Right now 6-foot-5, 255 pounds is solid.”

Casas told McDonald that he is focused on his future with the Red Sox. The Red Sox, for their part, could look to lock in Casas — who is not yet eligible for salary arbitration — to a long-term contract extension before the 2023 season begins.

(Picture of Triston Casas: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)