Red Sox Reportedly Planning on Offering Rafael Devers Contract Extension This Offseason

The Red Sox are reportedly planning on offering third baseman Rafael Devers a contract extension this offseason, according to WEEI’s Rob Bradford. An offer has yet to be extended to Devers at this point in time.

Devers, who turns 23 in October, is wrapping up what looks to be a top-seven finish in American League Most Valuable Player voting kind of season, as he entered Saturday slashing .309/.360/.556 to go along with a career-best 32 home runs and career-best 115 RBI over 154 games played.

The budding star infielder earned approximately $614,500 in his second full major league season in 2019, and is projected to earn somewhere around $800,000 in his final year of team control in 2020, per The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

With all the recent rumblings about the Red Sox wanting to get under the $208 million threshold for the 2020 campaign, it may seem confusing as to why the club would want to commit a large sum of money to one player.

However, as Bradford points out, any extension attached to Devers more than likely would not come into effect until after 2020, meaning the 22-year-old would still earn that $800,000 in salary or so next season.

The same sort of thing happened with the Houston Astros and third baseman Alex Bregman this past March, when the two sides agreed to a six-year, $100 million contract extension.

Bregman, who will more than likely finish as the runner-up in AL MVP voting this year, is still earning a base and luxury tax salary of $640,500 in 2019 while his extension does not kick in until 2020.

With shortstop Xander Bogaerts already locked up through at least the 2022 season, the Red Sox have a real chance to secure the left side of their infield for years to come.

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When It Comes to Contract Talks, Mookie Betts Is All Business

At the conclusion of the 2020 season, Red Sox star outfielder Mookie Betts is set to become a free agent for the first time in his career.

There has been plenty of speculation surrounding what the Red Sox should do with Betts at the end of the 2019 season, whether that be to offer him a lucrative extension, hold on to him for one more year, or possibly trade him in order to replenish the club’s farm system.

When speaking with WEEI’s Rob Bradford in Texas on Wednesday, the 26-year-old broke down the approach he is utilizing for this whole process.

“As a whole, when it comes to business in general, whether it’s buying a building or contract negotiations or whatever it is, you have to take emotions out of it, “said Betts. “That’s what people forget. Fans and media get caught up in emotions and that’s just not how I was raised and that’s just not what my point of view with my agents is. We take emotions out of it and we focus on the business part.”

Betts explained how this approach was adopted, saying that he wanted to quit his youth football team the first day he put pads on, but his Mom talked him out of it.

“She told me there was no need to quit, “Betts quipped Wednesday. “Just because you had a bad day or just because things didn’t go your way doesn’t mean you quit. You see it through, you started it and you finish it. It was an emotional decision and that was to quit. That was my first thought.”

Since that time, the Tennessee native has taken emotions out of his decisions and been all business. He had the chance to play college baseball at the University of Tennessee, but instead opted to take the $750,000 signing bonus offered to him by the Sox as a fifth round draft pick in 2011.

Less than six years after making that decision, Betts told Bradford that another difficult time for him came when Boston took a shot at offering their young outfielder a contract extension at the conclusion of the 2016 season, the year he burst onto the scene and finished as the runner-up in American League MVP voting behind only Mike Trout.

“That was a really emotional time,” Betts said. “Because I was like, ‘Mom, we’ve never seen this amount of money.’ She was like, ‘OK, cool. It’s a lot of money. I think we know it’s a lot of money. So let’s focus on the facts. Let’s focus on what is real and we took the emotions out of it.’ The first one was definitely the hardest.”

No contract extension was agreed upon then, but Betts has earned approximately $31.5 million since and has one year of arbitration left.

At the end of the day though, Betts is going to what is right for his family without taking the outside noise into consideration.

“I don’t care about (the public’s perception.) It is what it is. I am who I am and my family is who we are and we’re going to make the right decision.”

It’s long been believed that if Betts were to reach free agency, he would more than likely go to the highest bidder. What the Red Sox have in front of them is a 26-year-old MVP who appears to be on pace for a Hall of Fame career.

If they were to allow this kind of special player to walk away simply because they did not want to exhaust their financial resources to retain his services, then I do not believe that would be the best of looks for the organization.

I understand that there is also a chance that Betts would be unwilling to consider any sort of contract extension in order to test the open market, so it would be in the Sox’ best interests to trade him in order to build their farm system back up.

However, I find two issues with that argument. The first being that the Red Sox have yet to appoint a head of their baseball operations department. The second is that if Boston intends to compete again in 2020, trading off Betts would significantly decrease the chances of that happening.

All in all, if it’s just going to come down to money with Betts, the Red Sox cannot afford to be outbid by any other club.

Nathan Eovaldi Will Move to Bullpen Once Healthy, Says Red Sox Manager Alex Cora

After it was reported by NESN’s Tom Caron on Monday that Nathan Eovaldi will become the Red Sox’ closer when he returns from the injured list, manager Alex Cora made things official in Toronto on Tuesday, stating that the right-hander will move to the bullpen once he is healthy.

Although there was no clear indication that Eovaldi will serve as a traditional closer for Boston, this moves come at a time when the Sox’ bullpen has been under heavy scrutiny lately, especially during this past weekend’s series against the New York Yankees in London.

Since June 20th, Red Sox relievers have posted a cumulative 8.73 ERA and .321 batting average against over their last eight games played, both the worst in all of baseball in that span.

Eovaldi, 29, last recorded a save on June 14, 2009, more than 10 years ago, when he was a prospect in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization and pitching for the Class-A Great Lakes Loons.

In eight career big league appearances as a reliever, the Texas Native owns a lifetime 3.21 ERA and .188 batting average against over 14 total innings of work.

The Red Sox this season lead the American League in blown saves with 17 in 34 opportunities, so the need is obviously there to bolster the back end of a struggling bullpen.

Matt Barnes was viewed as the man who would see the most high leverage opportunities for Boston, but now it appears that role will shift over to Eovaldi once he returns from the IL.

One problem that comes into light once this move is made would be the Sox’ starting rotation.

Eovaldi inked a four-year, $68 milliion deal with Boston back in December to be a starter, he said as much during his press conference at the baseball winter meetings in Las Vegas.

Moving Eovaldi to the ‘pen would leave the Red Sox with the same issue they have been trying to deal with in the righty’s absence, that being the fifth and final spot in the rotation.

So far, names such as Brian Johnson, Hector Velazquez, Josh Smith, and Ryan Weber have made spot starts for Boston, and none have ran into a great deal of success in that role.

When speaking with MLB Network Radio on Tuesday, Cora did not rule out the possibility of Eovaldi returning to the starting rotation later in the season.

Out since the middle of April while recovering from right elbow surgery to remove loose bodies from the area, Eovaldi could be back sooner rather than later now that he will not have to ramp up his workload.

There’s also no guarantee that the former 11th round pick, who as already mentioned has no real closing experience, will be a shutdown reliever once he makes his return. How will his elbow react to working multiple times in a week, compared to just once every five days? That much is unknown.

This all goes to show how unprepared the Red Sox were for the 2019 season. They lost two key pieces of their World Series-winning bullpen in Joe Kelly and Craig Kimbrel, and did almost nothing to address it outside of acquiring Colten Brewer.

 

#RedSox Officially Announce Six-Year Extension for Xander Bogaerts

After hammering out the final details and agreements Sunday night, the Red Sox officially announced Monday that they had signed shortstop Xander Bogaerts to a six-year, $120 million contract extension through the 2025 season. The club tweeted the following to make it official.

Bogaerts, 26, will in fact still earn the $12 million he is due in 2019 before the new contract goes into effect beginning next year.

According to the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, the six-year pact includes two key components, with the first being an opt-out after the 2022 season, and the second being a $20 million vesting option for 2026, as long as Bogaerts compiles at least 535 plate appearances and is healthy at the end of the 2025 campaign.

Originally set to become a free agent this winter, the Aruba native will look to provide the Red Sox with solid offensive and defensive production for the forseeable future.

Four games into his sixth full season with the club, the two-time World Series champion and one-time American League All-Star is 3/16 with one double, one home run, and one RBI.

As things stand right now, the $20 million average annual value of Bogaerts’ new deal would make him the highest paid shortstop in all of baseball in 2020.

A press conference regarding Bogaerts’ extension with the Red Sox is scheduled for later Monday out in Oakland.

#RedSox and Xander Bogaerts Finalizing Seven-Year, $132 Million Contract Extension

Eight days after locking up ace left-hander Chris Sale for the next five seasons, it appears that the Red Sox have locked up another key piece who was set to hit free agency later this year in shortstop Xander Bogaerts, per WEEI’s Evan Drellich.

Meanwhile, ESPN’s Jeff Passan is reporting that Bogaerts’ potential contract extension with Boston will be worth $132 million over seven seasons. That averages out to approximately $18.6 million per year.

Passan also notes that the extension starts this season, presumably meaning that Bogaerts’ initial $12 million pact for 2019 will be ripped up. The deal will also include an opt-out.

A client os super agent Scott Boras, Bogaerts, 26, was set to become a free agent for the first time later this winter, but now appears to be a key member of the Red Sox infield for years to come.

Making his big league debut in 2013, the Aruba native has appeared in 762 games with Boston, tallying 75 home runs and 387 RBI over that time to go along with a career .283/.342/.429 slash line, one All-Star appearance, and two World Series titles.

Given that Opening Day was this past Thursday, I must say that I am honestly shocked this sort of deal got done at the time it did.

Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said at himself during the Chris Sale press conference last week.

“I think as far as negotiations are concerned I think it’s usually wise to stop on Opening Day because you don’t want to be a distraction,” Dombrowski said. “You want them focused and putting up the best numbers they can and win a championship.”

And less than two full weeks after that statement was made, the Red Sox are finalizing an extension with Xander Bogaerts as we speak.

This deal is not official yet, so I will provide more details as they come sometime tomorrow.

#RedSox Officially Announce Five-Year Extension for Chris Sale

On Saturday morning, the Red Sox made their five-year, $145 million contract extension with Chris Sale official after the left-hander passed his physical Friday night.

Sale will still earn the $15 million he was due in 2019 before this new contract kicks in.

One notable detail about this deal is that it his heavily front-loaded, as the 29-year-old will make approximately $30 million per year from 2020-2022.

Then, we reach the opt-out part of the pact, where Sale will have the opportunity to become a free agent at the age of 33 following the 2022 season, or he could opt-in for the final two years and $55 million of the contract.

This contract also includes deferred money, a full no-trade clause starting in the middle of the 2020 season, and a vesting option worth at least $20 million for a sixth season in 2025 depending on the number of starts Sale makes, notes ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

According to the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier and the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, the Red Sox chose to announce this extension as five-years/$145 million instead of six-years/$160 million like some initially thought in order to help with luxury-tax payroll.

As Rosenthal states, “average annual value of extension is $29M, but structure of deferrals lowers Sale’s annual luxury-tax number to $25.6M,” meaning the club, at this point, will not be hitting the third tier of luxury tax penalties with their payroll for 2019 still below $246 million.

One final note from Passan, Sale’s extension can increase in value from 2021-2024 and the value of the vesting option in 2025 can also fluctuate depending on where the southpaw finished in Cy Young Award voting in previous seasons.

So, I think I covered just about everything.

Sale, who was scheduled to pitch against the Minnesota Twins Friday, will be making his final Grapefruit League start of 2019 against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday afternoon.

First pitch of Boston’s Grapefruit League finale is scheduled for 1:05 EDT at JetBlue Park.

 

#RedSox, Chris Sale Reportedly Agree to Five-Year, $145 Million Contract Extension

The Red Sox and ace left-hander Chris Sale have reportedly reached agreement on a new five-year, $145 million contract extension, pending a physical. The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier was the first to report that the two sides were nearing an extension earlier Friday, while the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal was the first to report that the deal is worth $145 million, not $150 million like initially thought.

Rosenthal also notes that Sale will still earn the original $15 million he was due in 2019 before his new pact takes into effect beginning in 2020.

Sale, who will be turning 30 next week, will net approximately $29 million per year from 2020-2024, which is a lower average annual value then some forecasted earlier in the offseason.

It’s been well known that the Red Sox were interested in retaining Sale beyond 2019 since the time the club broke camp in February. Principal owner John Henry made that clear himself when he said, “[Sale’s] a special player. We would like to be able to sign him. I think he would like to as well.”

And what do you know? Just a few weeks later and Sale is set to remain with Boston for the forseeable future.

This extension also means that the Red Sox will be able to keep the majority of their starting rotation in tact for the next few years, with Sale, David Price, Nathan Eovaldi, and Eduardo Rodriguez all under contract for at least the next three seasons. Rick Porcello, of course, is set to become a free agent himself this winter.

In his first two seasons with the Red Sox, Sale is 29-12 with a 2.56 ERA and 0.924 WHIP to go along with 545 strikeouts in 372.1 innings pitched over 59 games started. He also recorded the final out of the 2018 World Series, in case you have forgotten about that.

There will be concern about Sale’s durability over the course of a full regular season, I can assure you of that. But, when you have the chance to lock down one of the best arms in the game today for less than $30 million per year, that’s a risk the Red Sox are probably willing to take.

And maybe, just maybe, the club can use the money they saved on this particular extension and use it towards one for JD Martinez, who can opt out of his current deal this winter, Xander Bogaerts, who is set to hit free agency for the first time later on this year, or even Mookie Betts, although he seems unlikely to agree to anything before he becomes a free agent after the 2020 season.

Regardless of that, Chris Sale is here to stay, and that is some positive news heading into the new season.