The offseason is here, which means it’s decision time for the Red Sox

The Braves have won their second World Series title since moving to Atlanta in 1966, as they put the finishing touches on their six-game series victory over the Astros in Houston on Tuesday night to cap off another exciting Fall Classic.

With the Braves officially putting an end to the World Series on Tuesday, the Major League Baseball offseason is truly ready to get rolling. That applies to the Red Sox, as well as the 31 other clubs they are competing with.

For the next five days, the Red Sox will have the opportunity to exclusively negotiate with their five definite free-agents to be in right-handers Adam Ottavino and Hansel Robles, left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, infielder Travis Shaw, and infielder/outfielder Danny Santana.

All five of those players will file for free agency on Wednesday, but won’t officially hit the open market until Sunday, or five days after the conclusion of the World Series.

While that group of five will all become free-agents later this week, there is a chance more could be added to that list as Wednesday marks the beginning of another five-day window in which teams have to decide on club options and players have to decide on player options.

In regards to how this affects the Sox, right-hander Garrett Richards ($10 million), left-hander Martin Perez ($6 million with a $500,000 buyout), and catcher Christian Vazquez ($7 million) all have team options that chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. will either have picked up or declined.

On the other side of the scale, veteran slugger J.D. Martinez has the ability to opt out of the final season of the five-year, $110 deal he signed with Boston in February 2018. The 34-year-old would be leaving $19.35 million on the table for 2022 if he were to opt for free agency this winter instead.

Kyle Schwarber, meanwhile, has an $11.5 mutual option for 2022 attached to the one-year, $10 million contract he signed with the Nationals in January. This means the Red Sox and Schwarber would both have to be on the same page in order to have that mutual option picked up, which seems unlikely based off the kind of season the 28-year-old first baseman/left fielder just put together.

To go along with the five-day window to decide on options and whatnot, the Red Sox will also have the next five days to determine if they will be handing out a qualifying offer to any impending free-agent who qualifies for one.

The qualifying offer, which is calculated yearly, by averaging the salaries of the 125 highest-paid players in baseball, will be worth $18.4 million this season.

Of the handful of Red Sox players who will/could be headed towards free agency, it is worth mentioning that someone like Schwarber is ineligible to receive one since he was traded in the middle of the season. Martinez, on the other hand, could be offered one if he were to opt out of the final year of his deal.

Rodriguez, who turns 29 in April, is a more interesting case when considering the rollercoaster of a 2021 season he had. Still, any player who does receive a qualifying offer has the choice to accept, and thus return to their club on a one-year deal, or reject, and therefore become a free-agent.

That being said, the Red Sox would receive draft compensation from whatever team signed a player they had previously and unsuccessfully extended a qualifying offer towards.

If the Red Sox were to extend a qualifying offer towards any eligible player, said player would have 10 days from the time they received the qualifying offer to decide if they want to accept or reject it.

With that, the offseason is here, and while there is plenty more to come for Bloom and the Red Sox, this means it is yet again time to make some key decisions.

(Picture of Chaim Bloom and Alex Cora: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox)

Red Sox free agency updates: Hirokazu Sawamura, Marwin González signings could be made official soon

As spring training approaches, the Red Sox are reportedly close to making their signings of right-hander Hirokazu Sawamura and utilityman Marwin Gonzalez official.

Here are some notes on each of those players’ situations regarding their pending contracts with Boston.

Hirokazu Sawamura: According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, Sawamura’s deal with the Red Sox is good for $3 million over two years with a “conditional and complex” option for a potential third year. The contract could also grow to $7.65 million over three years thanks to performance bonuses and escalators.

Sankei Sports of Japan originally reported last week that Sawamura had reached agreement on a two-year deal with Boston worth $2.4 million.

The 32-year-old righty (33 in April) has spent the entirety of his professional career, which dates back to 2011, pitching in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball Organization.

Most recently, Sawamura split the 2020 season between the Yomiuri Giants and Chiba Lotte Marines. And while he was not particularly sharp with Yomiuri, the 6-foot, 212 lb. hurler turned things around for the better upon arriving in Chiba City via a midseason trade.

Over 22 appearances and 21 innings pitched out of the Marines bullpen, Sawamura dazzled by posting a 1.71 ERA and 0.95 WHIP while striking out nearly three times as many hitters as he walked (29:10 K:BB ratio).

Working with a four-seam fastball that sits anywhere from 94-99 mph, a whiff-inducing split-finger fastball, and a so-so slider, Sawamura figures to play a key role in Boston’s bullpen puzzle in 2021.

“Multiple evaluators saw Sawamura as at least a seventh-inning reliever, a pitcher who alternately dominates the strike zone with elite stuff and then loses the strike zone completely,” The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier wrote of Sawamura on February 10. “Still, based on his peaks in the NPB, there’s a chance for an even more prominent late-innings role.”

Marwin Gonzalez: Earlier Monday, MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo tweeted that Gonzalez is getting a straight-up, one-year deal with Boston worth $3 million for the 2021 season. No options or anything of the sort, though he could earn an additional $1.1 million in performance bonuses based off number of plate appearances.

That, of course, would take the total value of the contract up to $4.1 million.

Cotillo adds that Gonzalez, who turns 32 next month, is expected to arrive in Fort Myers for his physical at some point this week, though poor weather conditions in the southern part of the United States (i.e. Texas) may delay his arrival.

Once he does make his way to the Fenway South complex and passes his physical, though, Gonzalez’s deal with the Sox will become official.

As noted by Cotillo, the former Astro and Twin could be “slated for significant work in the outfield while also serving as a left-handed hitting complement to Bobby Dalbec at first base” in the wake of the trade that sent Andrew Benintendi to the Royals.

Over the last two seasons with Minnesota, Gonzalez slashed .248/.311/.387 with 20 home runs and 77 RBI in 167 total games played while seeing time at every defensive position besides pitcher, catcher, and centerfield.

The versatile Venezuelan’s best year in the majors came with Houston in 2017, when he clubbed a career-best 23 homers and drove in 90 RBI over 134 games.

He finished 19th in American League MVP voting that year, and will now be reunited with his former bench coach in Red Sox manager Alex Cora.

In order for the Red Sox to make the additions of Sawamura and Gonzalez official, they will need to find a way to clear two spots on their 40-man roster, which is currently at full capacity.

(Picture of Hirokazu Sawamura: Sports Nippon/Getty Images)

Red Sox make Martín Pérez re-signing official, designate right-hander Chris Mazza for assignment

Nearly a full month after reaching an agreement with him, the Red Sox announced on Friday that they have brought back left-hander Martin Perez on a one-year contract for the 2021 season that includes a club option for 2022.

In order to make room for Perez on the 40-man roster, the Red Sox also designated right-hander Chris Mazza for assignment on Friday.

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported back in January that Perez, 30 in April, will earn a base salary of $4.5 million this season and will have the opportunity to earn $6 million in 2022 if his club option is picked up.

If not, Perez will net himself $500,000 in the form of a buyout, so he is guaranteed to make $5 million regardless of what happens next winter. His deal also includes incentives based on number of innings pitched in 2021 and 2022.

The 29-year-old hurler is a few months removed from a solid 2020 campaign with the Red Sox in which he posted a 4.50 ERA and 4.88 FIP over 12 starts and 62 innings pitched in his first go-around in Boston.

Don’t let those numbers fool you, though, because outside of two poor outings against the Orioles on July 25 and September 24, Perez proved to be one of the Sox’ most consistent starters last year by putting up a 3.57 ERA and .686 OPS against in 10 starts (53 innings) from July 30 through September 18.

The Red Sox originally inked the Venezuelan international to a one-year pact that also included a $6.25 million team option back in December 2019, but went on to decline that option this past November.

At the time, Perez was rather dismayed by that decision, but he did not give up hope that he might be able to re-sign with the club this winter.

“I was disappointed at one point,” he said when speaking with reporters via Zoom earlier Friday evening. “But at the same time, I told my agent, ‘I want to wait because I know they’re trying to make a lot of moves.’ And I want to wait because all offseason, my mind was in Boston — my heart too. I felt good last year. I enjoyed the short season that we played, and I especially enjoyed the fans and how they texted me after games. You guys, too, do a great job for me. That’s why I always told my agent, ‘I want to be back. I just want to wait and let’s see what they got for me.’ And finally, we made the deal and now I’m back.”

Given his return to Boston’s pitching staff, Perez figures to open the 2021 season as the Sox’ No. 2 or No. 3 starter depending on how things play out at spring training. He joins a mix of arms vying for rotation spots that consists of Eduardo Rodriguez, Nathen Eovaldi, Garrett Richards, Nick Pivetta, Tanner Houck, Matt Andriese, and Garrett Whitlock.

Moving on to Mazza now, the 31-year-old was designated for assignment by the Sox a little under 14 months after originally being claimed off waivers from the Mets in late December 2019.

Starting the 2020 season at the club’s alternate training site in Pawtucket, Mazza made his Red Sox debut on August 1 and went on to produce a 4.80 ERA and 4.26 FIP over nine appearances, six of which were starts, and 30 innings of work in three separate stints with the team.

The Red Sox now have a week to either trade, release, or sneak Mazza through waivers, though it doesn’t seem too crazy for another team to put in a waiver claim for the California native considering the fact he still has one minor-league option remaining for 2021.

With this transaction completed, the Red Sox’ 40-man roster is at full capacity, which means two spots still need to be cleared so that Hirokazu Sawamura and Marwin Gonzalez can be added sooner rather than later.

That will be something to monitor as the start of major-league camp draws closer (February 18).

(Picture of Martin Perez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox reach agreement with veteran utilityman Marwin González on one-year deal, per report

The Red Sox and veteran utilityman Marwin Gonzalez have agreed to a one-year contract, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand.

Per Feinsand, Gonzalez will earn $3 million in 2021 with the chance to earn a little over $1 million more in incentives.

Gonzalez, who turns 33 next month, is coming off a 2020 season with the Twins in which he posted a .211/.286/.320 slash to go along with five home runs and 22 RBI over 53 games (199 plate appearances).

The Red Sox were known to be in the market for a left-handed bat that could potentially complement the right-handed hitting Bobby Dalbec at first base, and Gonzalez, a switch-hitter certainly fits that mold.

The Venezuelan has proven to be quite versatile over the course of his nine year major-league career with the Astros and Twins, as he has seen time at every defensive position minus pitcher and catcher.

Most recently, as a member of the Twins from 2019-2020, Gonzalez appeared in 35 games at first base, 22 at second base, 63 at third base, one at shortstop, 18 in left field, zero in center field, and 52 in right field. He also served as a designated hitter, pinch-hitter, and pinch-runner in his time with Minnesota.

Given the fact he spent the first seven years of his big-league career — including 2017 — in Houston, Gonzalez is obviously already familiar with Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who served as the ‘Stros’ bench coach that year.

The reported addition of Gonzalez comes less than two weeks after the Enrique Hernandez signing was made official, so Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. appear intent on having as versatile team as possible.

As currently constructed, Boston’s 40-man roster is at full capacity, so the club will need to make a flurry of moves in order to officially add the likes of Gonzalez, Hirokazu Sawamura, and Martin Perez.

Also, this is not Gonzalez’s first time with the Red Sox. He spent less than one full day with the team back in December 2011 after being selected from the Cubs in the major-league phase of that year’s Rule 5 Draft before promptly getting traded to the Astros for Marco Duarte.

(Picture of Marwin Gonzalez: Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts named third-best shortstop in baseball by MLB Network

Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts was ranked by MLB Network as the No. 3 shortstop in baseball headed into the 2021 season on Tuesday night.

Finishing behind the likes of Rockies star Trevor Story and Padres sensation Fernando Tatis Jr., Bogaerts is coming off yet another quality campaign in 2020.

Across 56 games played last year, the 28-year-old posted a .300/.364/.502 slash line to go along with 11 home runs and 28 RBI over 225 total plate appearances.

2020 marked the third consecutive season in which Bogaerts finished with an on-base percentage north of .360, a slugging percentage north of .500, and an OPS+ exceeding 130. He finished in the top-20 in American League MVP voting in each of those three seasons.

Going back to Opening Day 2018, the Aruban infielder has accrued 13.6 fWAR in 347 total games played, the second-highest fWAR total among qualified major-league shortstops behind only Francisco Lindor, who accrued 14.0 fWAR in 361 games played with the Indians over that same stretch.

Bogaerts would likely be at the top of FanGraphs’ WAR leaderboards if the defensive metrics fell in line with what he did on the field.

As MLB Network’s Brian Kenny put it Tuesday night, “the defensive metrics do not like [Bogaerts]. Maybe it’s accurate, maybe not quite. But otherwise he would be a WAR leader as well.”

Last year alone, Bogaerts posted negative-5 defensive runs saved and an ultimate zone rating of just 0.3 over 438 innings at shortstop. He also registered negative-2 outs above average at the position, per Baseball Savant.

With spring training set to begin in just a few short weeks, the two-time All-Star is certainly not at risk of losing his starting job, but that doesn’t mean lofty expectations will be placed upon him heading into the new season.

Just ask Red Sox manager Alex Cora.

“Xander, for instance, when you talk about about the shortstops around the league and now you add [Corey] Seager to that equation, he’s up there with them,” Cora said of Bogaerts back in November. “Maybe the next step for us is to push Xander to be a better defender — and he’s not a bad defender — but to become an elite defender.”

Bogaerts, who does not turn 29 until October, is entering the second year of the six-year, $120 million contract extension he signed with Boston shortly after the start of the 2019 season.

He also has the option to opt out of his contract and become a free-agent at the conclusion of the 2022 season.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox officially sign utilityman Kiké Hernández to two-year deal

The Red Sox have officially signed utilityman Enrique Hernandez to a two-year contract, the team announced Tuesday.

Dustin Pedroia officially retiring from the game of baseball on Monday opened up a spot on the Red Sox’ 40-man roster, allowing Boston to sign Hernandez nearly two weeks after he agreed to a multi-year deal with the club.

Hernandez, 29, will earn approximately $14 million with this new contract ($6 million in 2021, $8 million in 2022), though the deal does include deferrals, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

The native of Puerto Rico had spent six of the first seven years of his big-league career with the Dodgers and is coming off a 2020 campaign in which he slashed .230/.270/.410 to go along with five home runs and 20 RBI over 48 games (148 PAs) for Los Angeles.

In the postseason, Hernandez proved to be a valuable piece of the Dodgers’ puzzle by posting a .755 OPS while clubbing two homers and driving in four runs en route to Los Angeles’ first World Series title in 32 years.

Capable of playing multiple defensive positions around the infield and outfield, Hernandez’s versatility, as well as his lifetime .820 OPS against left-handed pitching, should come in handy for the Sox in 2021.

Hernandez’s new manager, Alex Cora, selected the 5-foot-11, 190 lb. right-handed hitter to play for Team Puerto Rico during the 2017 World Baseball Classic, when he served as the team’s general manager. But, their relationship goes back much further than that.

“I know a lot of people are talking about Enrique,” Cora said on the TC & Jerry Podcast last week, before the signing was made official. “I call him Enrique because he was my batboy when I played winter ball when he was eight years old. He’s a good player, he’s a solid player… Looking from afar, he’s a guy that is versatile. I think he’s a better hitter than what people think, he has a lot of pop. But at the same time, what he brings to the equation outside the clubhouse is amazing. He’s a very humble kid from a great family. His dad actually is a cancer survivor. They’ve been amazing. A family that we really respect here in Puerto Rico.”

Hernandez will speak to reporters via Zoom at 5 p.m. eastern time Tuesday evening. He will also wear the No. 5 for the Red Sox, becoming the 38th player in team history to do so.

(Picture of Enrique Hernandez: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Red Sox, right-hander Garrett Richards agree to one-year, $10 million deal that includes $10 million team option for 2022

The Red Sox and free-agent right-hander Garrett Richards are in agreement on a one-year, $10 million contract for the 2021 season, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The deal is pending a physical.

The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier adds that Richards’ deal with Boston includes a $10 million club option for 2022 and a buyout, which includes escalators “that would increase both the option salary and the cost of the buyout.”

Richards, 32, posted a 4.03 ERA and 4.28 FIP over 14 outings (10 starts) and 51 1.3 innings of work for the Padres last season.

The 2020 campaign marked the California native’s first “full” season in quite a while on account of the fact that he underwent Tommy John surgery in July 2018.

Prior to undergoing the knife nearly three years ago, Richards — a former first-round pick of the Angels in 2009 — was once a highly-touted prospect with the potential to become a frontline starter at the major-league level.

Multiple stints on the injured list have prevented that from happening to this point, but Richards still has plenty of appeal, as last season he placed in the 82nd percentile in fastball velocity, the 97th percentile in fastball spin, and the 99th percentile in curveball spin among big-league hurlers, per Baseball Savant.

Working with a four-seamer, a curveball, and a slider, the former Oklahoma Sooner will look to provide the Sox with the rotation help they are in desperate need.

Boston is after all coming off a 2020 season in which club starters put up the second-worst ERA in baseball (5.34) while finishing second-to-last in innings pitched (246).

The likes of Richards, fellow right-handers Matt Andriese and Garrett Whitlock, and left-hander Martin Perez should address those issues to some degree, though it should be interesting to see if the Red Sox are now out of the running for Jake Odorizzi given these other additions.

By reportedly signing Richards, who is listed at 6-foot-2 and 210 lbs., and utilityman Enrique Hernandez, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. have had themselves quite the weekend already.

They will, however, have to clear one spot on Boston’s 40-man roster given the fact that it is currently at 39 players following the trade that sent C.J. Chatham to the Phillies earlier this week.

We will have to wait and see what the Sox have in mind in order to make that happen before the Richards and Hernandez signings become official.

(Picture of Garrett Richards: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Red Sox, utilityman Kiké Hernández agree to multi-year deal, per report

The Red Sox and free-agent utilityman Enrique Hernandez have reached agreement on a multi-year deal, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand.

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal adds that Hernandez’s new contract with Boston is good for $14 million over two years. It also includes deferrals and is pending a physical.

Hernandez, 29, had spent the previous six seasons with the Dodgers, most recently slashing a modest .230/.270/.410 to go along with five home runs and 20 RBI over 48 games played in 2020.

He also put together a decent postseason for Los Angeles en route to their first World Series title since 1988 by posting a .755 OPS across 15 games and 31 plate appearances this past October.

A right-handed hitter and right-handed thrower, Hernandez has proven to be quite the versatile player in his tenure with the Dodgers, seeing playing time all around the infield, outfield, and even the pitcher’s mound (one appearance in 2018).

Going back to last season, Los Angeles deployed the Puerto Rican at second base 27 times, in right field seven times, in left field four times, in center field three times, and at first base and shortstop two times each.

Based off these totals, one might assume Hernandez’s best position defensively is second base, which in this case is true.

Per FanGraphs, the 5-foot-11, 190 lb. infielder/outfielder played 220 1/3 innings at second base in 2020. In those 220 1/3 innings, he was worth positive-8 defensive runs saved despite posting a negative-2.6 ultimate zone rating.

Going into the offseason, the Red Sox sought out to address their second base issues coming off a 2020 season in which that particular position group  put up an American League-worst .586 OPS and league-worst wRC+ of 55.

The addition of Hernandez, who by no means is an offensive superstar, might not be too appealing on the surface, but this is really a solid pickup for the Sox.

That being the case because when they don’t need him to play second base, the club could start him at a bevy of other positions, including all three spots in the outfield if necessary.

As an added bonus, which the Red Sox likely took into consideration here, Hernandez owns a lifetime wRC+ of 120 in 893 career plate appearances against left-handed pitching.

That attribute could very well come in handy if Hernandez was to be used a platoon option with Andrew Benintendi in left field, assuming Benintendi is still on the team by Opening Day.

Of course, given his connections to Puerto Rico, Hernandez should be familiar with Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who, as Team Puerto Rico’s general manager for the 2017 World Baseball Classic, picked the former sixth-round draft pick to play for his home island’s team.

In signing Hernandez to a two-year deal, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. have now added four free-agents (Hernandez, Martin Perez, Matt Andriese, Hunter Renfroe) on major-league contracts so far this winter.

Of that group, Hernandez is the first to get a deal with a guaranteed second year as opposed to a club option.

(Picture of Enrique Hernandez: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Red Sox, Rafael Devers avoid arbitration with $4.575 million deal for 2021

The Red Sox and third baseman Rafael Devers have avoided salary arbitration, as the two sides reached agreement on a $4.575 million contract for the 2021 season, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand

UPDATE: It’s official now.

Devers, 24, was entering his first season of arbitration eligibility. He was projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn approximately $6.3 million in 2021.

Had Devers and the Red Sox not settled on a dollar figure by Friday’s deadline, the two sides would have had to appear in front of an arbitrator sometime next month in order to determine the infielder’s salary for the upcoming season.

Prior to Friday’s deadline, Devers had been the only arbitration-eligible player the Sox had yet to come to terms with, as the club signed the likes of Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, Austin Brice, Kevin Plawecki, and Eduardo Rodriguez to contracts in December.

Per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, neither Boston nor Devers’ camp talked about a potential long-term contract extension leading up to Friday’s agreement. The Dominican national’s agent, Nelson Montes de Oca of REP1 Baseball, said as much when speaking with The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier last week.

“We haven’t talked about 2021 or a multiyear deal right now,” Montes de Oca said. “Right now he’s just concentrated on getting in shape for 2021 and put in the best season and helping the team win. We haven’t talked or thought about any multiyear deal at this point.”

Despite the notion that there have been no talks about an extension to this point, the two sides are free to explore that possibility in the meantime. Though, as noted by Cotillo, “conversations about those types of contracts usually take place before or during spring training and are tabled before the beginning of the season.”

As of this writing, Devers is eligible to become a free agent at the conclusion of the 2023 campaign.

For now, the former top prospect will prepare to embark on his fifth big-league season (fourth full) as he reunites with manager Alex Cora.

According to Speier, Devers is currently working out in Tampa to prepare for the season. The start of spring training is just a few short weeks away, after all.

By reaching an agreement with Devers, the Red Sox — or any players on the team for that matter — won’t have to attend any arbitration hearings this spring for the first time since 2019.

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox have yet to talk to Rafael Devers about long-term contract extension, third baseman’s agent says

The Red Sox have yet to engage Rafael Devers about a potential long-term extension, the third baseman’s agent, Nelson Montes de Oca of REP1 Baseball, told The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Devers, who turned 24 in October, is about to enter his first season of arbitration eligibility and is on track to reach free agency at the conclusion of the 2023 season.

After he was tendered a contract last month, Devers’ camp and the Red Sox have until this coming Friday to exchange arbitration figures, meaning there is still time — before and after the end of this week — for the two sides to reach agreement on an appropriate salary for the 2021 campaign.

“We haven’t talked about 2021 or a multiyear deal right now,” Montes de Oca told Speier. “Right now he’s just concentrated on getting in shape for 2021 and put in the best season and helping the team win. We haven’t talked or thought about any multiyear deal at this point.”

Originally signed out of the Dominican Republic for $1.5 million in 2013, Devers is coming off a rather underwhelming 2020 season — his fourth (third full) in the majors — after finishing 12th in American League MVP voting the year before.

Over a team-leading 57 games played, the left-handed hitting infielder slashed .263/.310/.483 with 11 home runs, 16 doubles, and 43 RBI over 57 games and 248 plate appearances. He also committed 14 errors while posting negative-6 defensive runs saved in 475 innings patrolling the hot corner, as noted by MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith.

Some of those defensive struggles can be linked to a left ankle injury Devers suffered in August, which resulted in him missing a few games.

“That affected his range and throwing mechanics,” writes Speier. “He committed three throwing errors in a game shortly after his return to the field and made nine in total after returning. While there was no structural damage serious enough to keep him out of the lineup, Devers nonetheless struggled through the end of the year.”

Despite dealing with those aforementioned ankle issues towards the latter half of the 2020 season, Devers is apparently on track to be ready for spring training come February. He’s even headed to Tampa Bay later this month to get some work in with a personal trainer.

“He’s 100% now,” Montas de Oca said of his client. “He’s getting ready to have a really good 2021 season. He takes pride on helping the team win and hopefully bringing another championship. He loves that team. He loves the city and loves the fans.”

Back in October, MLB Trade Rumors projected that Devers would earn approximately $3.4 million in his first season of arbitration eligibility. We will have to wait and see if that projection comes to fruition in the coming weeks.

(Photo of Rafael Devers: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)