Red Sox ‘in talks’ with Gold Glove-winning catcher Roberto Pérez, per report

The Red Sox are in talks with free agent catcher Roberto Perez, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

Perez, 34, was limited to just 21 games with the Pirates last year after suffering a season-ending left hamstring injury in May that ultimately required surgery. The right-handed hitter batted .233/.333/.367 with two home runs and eight RBIs across 69 plate appearances before getting injured.

Prior to signing a one-year contract with Pittsburgh last winter, Perez spent the first eight years of his major-league career in Cleveland, where he established himself as one of the top defensive catchers in baseball by being named the Wilson Overall Defensive Player of the Year in 2019 and winning back-to-back Gold Glove Awards in 2019 and 2020.

Offensive has never been Perez’s strong suit, as the native Puerto Rican is a lifetime .207/.298/.360 hitter with 57 doubles, four triples, 55 home runs, 192 RBIs, 165 runs scored, two stolen bases, 190 walks, and 521 strikeouts in 511 games (1,752 plate appearances). He did, however, enjoy a career year in 2019 by clubbing 24 homers in 119 games with Cleveland.

Digging deeper into the defensive numbers, Perez has thrown out 97 of 248 potential base stealers in his career. The 5-foot-11, 220-pounder has accrued 79 Defensive Runs Saved in 4,052 1/3 innings behind the plate. He has also been among the game’s top pitch framers since Statcast first began tracking that data in 2015.

Injuries have limited Perez to just 65 games over the last two years, so there may be some questions surrounding his durability. That being said, Perez did appear in 10 games for the Indios de Mayaguez of the Puerto Rican Winter League earlier this winter, so he appears to be healthy heading into the spring.

Since the start of spring training is now less than a month away, Perez will likely have to settle for a minor-league deal. The Red Sox are not alone in their pursuit of Perez, either, as Cotillo reports that the veteran is “believed to have other suitors” on the open market.

As currently constructed, Reese McGuire and Connor Wong are the only two catchers on Boston’s 40-man roster. Jorge Alfaro, who was signed to a minors pact earlier this month, is expected to compete with Wong for a spot on the Sox’ Opening Day roster as the club’s No. 2 catcher. Caleb Hamilton and Ronaldo Hernandez, who were both outrighted off the 40-man roster, will also be at big-league camp as non-roster invites.

(Picture of Roberto Perez: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Red Sox make Adam Duvall signing official, designate Matt Barnes for assignment

The Red Sox have officially signed outfielder Adam Duvall to a one-year contract for the 2023 season, the club announced earlier Tuesday evening. In order to make room for Duvall on the 40-man roster, reliever Matt Barnes was designated for assignment.

Duvall initially agreed to a one-year, $7 million deal with Boston last week. As was previously reported by Craig Mish of the Miami Herald and Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com, the 34-year-old can earn an additional $3 million in performance bonuses (based on number of plate appearances), meaning he can receive a maximum of $10 million in 2023.

A veteran of nine major-league seasons between the Giants, Reds, Braves, and Marlins, Duvall projects as the Red Sox’ new primary center fielder with Enrique Hernandez moving to the infield in the wake of Trevor Story undergoing right elbow surgery earlier this month. The right-handed hitter 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) for Atlanta last season before being shut down in July with a torn tendon sheath in his left wrist that ultimately required surgery.

Duvall was originally selected by the Giants in the 11th round of the 2010 amateur draft out of the University of Louisville. The Kentucky native broke in with San Francisco during the 2014 season and was then traded to Cincinnati the following July. In his first full season with the Reds (2016), Duvall hit 33 home runs and was named to his first All-Star team. He hit 31 more homers in 2017 and was subsequently dealt to the Braves at the 2018 trade deadline.

After 2 1/2 seasons with the Braves, Duvall became a free agent for the first time and signed with the Marlins in February 2021 only to be traded back to Atlanta five months later. Between the two National League East rivals, he slashed .228/.281/.491 with a career-best 38 home runs and league-leading 113 RBIs in 146 games. He also helped the Braves win a World Series title that fall and took home his first Gold Glove Award for his work in right field.

While 2022 was considered a down year for Duvall, the Red Sox have every reason to believe he will bounce back in 2023. It certainly helps that his swing should play at Fenway Park, where he is a lifetime .333 (6-for-18) hitter with four home runs in four career games. Three of those long balls came in the same contest during the COVID-shortened 2020 season.

Defensively, Duvall has past experience at all three outfield spots. When it comes to center field in particular, though, the 6-foot-1, 215-pounder has accrued four defensive runs saved and five outs above average across 593 2/3 career innings at the position. Last year, he ranked in the 88th percentile of all big-league outfielders in outs above average (+5), 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.

Duvall, who does not turn 35 until September, completes a new-look Red Sox outfield mix that already includes Masataka Yoshida, Alex Verdugo, Rob Refsnyder, and Jarren Duran. Hernandez, of course, could man center field on days Duvall sits.

In addition to signing Duvall and designating Barnes for assignment on Tuesday, the Red Sox also acquired infielder Adalberto Mondesi and a player to be named later from the Royals in exchange for lefty reliever Josh Taylor.

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

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 designate former top prospect Darwinzon Hernandez for assignment

The Red Sox needed to clear a spot on their 40-man roster in order to make the signing of infielder/designated hitter Justin Turner official on Friday afternoon. They cleared that spot by designating reliever Darwinzon Hernandez for assignment.

Hernandez, 26, originally signed with the Red Sox for just $7,500 as an international free agent coming out of Venezuela in August 2013. Despite receiving a modest signing bonus, it did not take the left-hander all that long to establish himself as arguably the top pitching prospect in Boston’s farm system.

Heading into the 2019 season, Hernandez was ranked by Baseball America as the Red Sox’ No. 3 overall prospect. The Bolivar native made his major-league debut that April before making his first career start against the Rangers less than two months later.

Hernandez spent another month in the minor-leagues before being recalled again in mid-July. In 27 appearances out of Boston’s bullpen from that point forward, Hernandez posted a 4.32 ERA — but much more respectable 2.81 FIP — with 46 strikeouts to 20 walks over 25 innings of relief.

On the heels of a relatively strong rookie campaign, it appeared as though Hernandez had momentum heading into 2020. But a bout with COVID-19 in July and a left AC joint sprain in August limited him to just seven outings (8 1/3 innings) during the pandemic-shortened season.

To his credit, Hernandez bounced back in 2021 by making a career-high 48 relief appearances. While his 3.38 ERA and 29.7 strikeout rate were undoubtedly solid, Hernandez did walk 31 batters in 40 innings of work, which led to him having a 4.80 FIP.

With those discouraging peripherals in mind, Hernandez was left off Boston’s Opening Day roster last April and began the 2022 season with Triple-A Worcester. The burly lefty then sustained a torn right meniscus in May that required surgery. After a lengthy recovery period, he returned to the Red Sox in July but struggled to the tune of a 21.60 ERA (16 earned runs in 6 2/3 innings) before being sent back down in August.

Hernandez did not fare much better with the WooSox down the stretch, as he yielded nine runs (eight earned) with 10 strikeouts to nine walks across nine appearances (eight innings) through the end of the minor-league season. He returned to his home country this offseason and produced a 3.86 ERA in 19 outings (16 1/3 innings) for the Cardenales de Lara of the Venezuelan Winter League, but he still issued nine walks to the 74 batters he faced in that time frame.

Given his well-documented control issues (32.3 percent career walk rate in 85 1/3 big-league innings) , it seems as though the Red Sox were ready to move on from Hernandez if the occasion arose, as it did on Friday. Boston will now have the next seven days to either trade, release, or waive Hernandez and keep him in the organization without committing a 40-man roster spot to him.

Hernandez, for his part, does not turn 27 until next December and still has one minor-league option remaining. The 6-foot-2, 255-pound southpaw also possesses upside in the form a high-octane four-seam fastball, a mid-80s slider, and a high-70s curveball. Taking all those factors into consideration, Hernandez could very well draw interest from a team in need of bullpen depth and be traded or claimed off waivers in the coming days.

Regardless of his fate, though, Hernandez becomes the latest in a long line of Red Sox players to be cut from the club’s 40-man roster this winter, joining the likes of Eric Hosmer, Jeter Downs, Tyler Danish, Eduard Bazardo, Abraham Almonte, Franchy Cordero, and Yu Chang.

After removing Hernandez and adding Turner on Friday, the Red Sox’ 40-man roster is still at full capacity. They will need to clear another spot once the signing of veteran starter Corey Kluber is made official.

(Picture of Darwinzon Hernandez: Elsa/Getty Images)

Red Sox make Justin Turner signing official, designate Darwinzon Hernandez for assignment

The Red Sox have officially signed infielder Justin Turner to a one-year contract for the 2023 season that includes a player option for 2024, the club announced on Friday. In order to make room for Turner on the 40-man roster, reliever Darwinzon Hernandez was designated for assignment.

Turner agreed to a one-year deal with Boston last month after spending the previous nine seasons with the Dodgers. According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, the 38-year-old will receive a base salary of $8.3 million in 2023 and will have the chance to earn an additional $1 million in performance bonuses. If Turner exercises his player option, he will lock himself into a $13.4 million salary for 2024. If he declines it, he would receive $6.7 million in the form of a buyout and become a free agent again next winter.

All told, Turner is guaranteed to make at least $15 million in 2023. If he returns via the player option in 2024, the deal would be worth $21.7 million over the next two seasons and would max out at $22.7 million if he hits on his incentive bonuses. For luxury tax purposes, the average annual value of Turner’s contract comes out to $10.85 million, per The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Turner became a free agent in November after the Dodgers declined his $16 million club option for 2023. In 128 games for Los Angeles last year, the right-handed hitter batted .278/.350/.438 with 36 doubles, 13 home runs, 81 RBIs, 61 runs scored, three stolen bases, 50 walks, and 89 strikeouts over 532 plate appearance. From May 10 through the end of the season, he slashed .306/.388/.488 with 12 homers and 68 runs driven in across 102 games.

In signing with the Red Sox, Turner is expected to take over as the club’s primary designated hitter after J.D. Martinez left for the Dodgers in free agency. The 5-foot-11, 202-pounder could also serve as a right-handed hitting complement to Rafael Devers and Triston Casas — who both hit from the left side of the plate — at third base (his natural position) and first base, respectively.

Turner, who does not turn 39 until November, was originally selected by Cincinnati in the seventh round of the 2006 amateur draft out of Cal State Fullerton. After bouncing around between the Reds, Orioles, and Mets organizations, the Long Beach native found a home with the Dodgers in 2014. During his decorated tenure in Los Angeles, Turner was selected to two All-Star teams (2017 and 2021) and won his first World Series title in 2020. He was also the recipient of the 2022 Roberto Clemente Award.

Hernandez, on the other hand, lost his spot on Boston’s 40-man roster in order to accommodate the addition of Turner. The 26-year-old left-hander was once considered to be one of the top pitching prospects in the Red Sox farm system but has struggled to find his footing on a consistent basis since debuting in 2019.

This past season, Hernandez allowed 16 earned runs over seven appearances (6 2/3 innings) at the major-league level. With Triple-A Worcester, the Venezuelan-born southpaw posted a 5.73 ERA with 51 strikeouts to 27 walks over 23 outings (one start) spanning 33 innings of work. For his big-league career, he owns a lifetime 5.06 ERA in 85 1/3 innings.

Hernandez does not turn 27 until December and still has one minor-league option remaining, so he could be of interest to other teams in need of relief help. With that being said, the Red Sox will have the next seven days to either trade, release, or waive Hernandez and keep him in the organization as a non-40-man roster player.

(Picture of Justin Turner: Katharine Lotze/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)

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)