Rafael Devers turned down Red Sox extension offer this spring

Red Sox star third baseman Raphael Devers recently turned down an extension offer from the team, Z101’s Héctor Gómez reports (Twitter link). Gomez adds that Boston’s offer to Devers exceeded the deal by $124 million Jose Ramirez signed with the Guardians. Other details of the offer are unknown, but MassLive’s Chris Cotillo characterizes the sides as being “far apart” from each other.

Gómez and Cotillo suggest there are unlikely to be any further talks before the Red Sox open the season Friday against the Yankees. Devers previously suggested he would not agree to a mid-season extension. That apparently sets him up to play this season on a salary of $11.2 million, which he and the Sox agreed to avoid an arbitration hearing on last month.

It stands to reason that the Boston front office will try to expand Devers next winter, at the very least. It is controllable by arbitration for another season beyond this one. Come next offseason, the reigning AL Silver Slugger at third base will have racked up more than $16 million in career earnings. Barring a major injury, he’ll be in line for a fairly notable salary increase this season in his final year as an umpire before joining free agency ahead of his campaign at 27.

That’s all to say that Devers has little pressure to accept a significant discount. The Red Sox certainly won’t make a market value offer two years before free agency, but keeping him in the fold for the long haul would require one of the biggest investments in this service bucket’s history. The Braves signed the first baseman Matt Olson — who also has more than four years of service — to an eight-year, $168 million extension last month. Only Joey Votto (ten years, $225 million) and Giancarlo Stanton (13, $325 million) topped Olson’s contract among players with four to five years of service.

Olson was projected for a referee salary of $12 million before signing his extension, not too dissimilar to Devers’ current mark. He and Devers have similar family numbers dating back three seasons. Olson has had a .257/.354/.522 line since early 2019; Devers is a .290/.350/.537 hitter in this era. The latter hits for a better average, while Olson draws a lot more walks. Olson has been 34 percentage points above par by wRC+ measurement, while Devers is checking 29 points above par.

Obviously, Olson and Devers aren’t doing an apples-to-apples comparison. Devers plays a more demanding position, but is considered one of the worst defensive third basemen in the league. Olson plays at the lowest position on the defensive spectrum, but he may be the best glover in the game at first base. You could say Olson is the most valuable all-rounder, but Devers is two and a half years younger. Devers’ camp at Rep 1 Baseball can make the case for a deal that exceeds Olson’s term and overall guarantee, making it unsurprising that “simply” going over Ramírez’ $124 million guaranteed wouldn’t be enough. . (To be clear, it’s unclear how close the Red Sox offer to Devers was to Ramírez’s number).

Regardless of whether Boston and Devers end up working on something long-term, he’ll be around for the next two seasons. This is not necessarily the case for the shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who can opt out of the remaining three years and $60 million on his contract after this season. The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier spoke with Boagerts on Monday. The star shortstop told Speier he and the club held talks this spring, but said he doesn’t expect an extension to be agreed in the coming days. Like Devers, Bogaerts suggested he was not interested in continuing negotiations once the season begins.

Bogaerts would hit the open market before his 30-year-old season and looks likely to easily top $60 million barring an unexpected drop in performance or injury. The Sox added a potential All-Star alternative last month when they signed Trevor’s Story to a six-year, $140 million contract. The longtime Rockie agreed to play second base this season out of respect for Boagerts. Boston could keep him keystone if they strike a long-term deal with Bogaerts, but Story could also return to his old position in 2023 if the Sox’s outgoing shortstop heads elsewhere.

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