Boston Red Sox

If the Red Sox are going to retain either Xander Bogaerts or Rafael Devers long-term, they’ll have to pay a lot more than what’s being reported.

A new story by Jon Heyman at the New York Post seems to shed light on why Bogaerts was audibly upset when speaking to reporters about his contract situation. According to Heyman, the Red Sox’ offer was to add one year to Bogaerts’ existing deal – $60 million over 2022-24 – for another $30 million, bringing his total contract with Boston to $90 million. Bogaerts’ camp, led by agent Scott Boras, didn’t make an immediate counter-offer, but would have come back with a deal for at least $100 million more than that.

Heyman says a “friend” of Bogaerts described the Red Sox’ offer as a “slap in the face.”

Devers, meanwhile, is reportedly “looking for an ultra-long deal that would have made him a ‘Red Sox for life,'” but the team prefers more of a “half-life deal.” Heyman is reporting a $100 million gap (if not more) in the total money between the Red Sox and both players.

It’s understandable that the team wouldn’t just acquiesce to whatever mega-deal Boras demands for Bogaerts up front, or lead right out with 12 years and $400-plus million for Devers. But if the figures of their offer for Bogaerts are accurate, they are pulling a Will Smith. And they’re doing it to the current face of the franchise.

Bogaerts can opt out after 2022. It’s hard to see how he wouldn’t, provided he stays healthy and produces at his typical All-Star level. A still-excellent Bogaerts should easily find a deal in the range of what other premium shortstops around baseball have gotten. Carlos Correa recently signed with the Twins for three years at $31.5 million annually. On the longer end, Francisco Lindor signed with the Mets for 10 years and $341 million, while Corey Seager landed a 10-year, $325 million deal with the Rangers.

The latter two contracts are ostensibly the kind of deal Devers wants to reach. In the case of Bogaerts, something between the Correa and Lindor/Seager deals doesn’t seem like too much to ask, for a franchise cornerstone who has spent his entire career within the Red Sox organization. If this is not a player they want to make a “Red Sox for life,” who is?

There’s a long way to go with Bogaerts and Devers’ contract situations, especially since it sounds like there won’t be much negotiating during the 2022 season. But it’s going to take a lot of movement from the Red Sox’ side to turn this back in a positive direction.

Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. You can also email him at mdolloff@985thesportshub.com.


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Mazz: How the Red Sox may (should?) try to sell Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers and Trevor Story on remaining together

  • Pay Bogaerts and entice him to move to third

    Oct 5, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts (2) hits a two run home run against the New York Yankees during the first inning of the American League Wildcard game at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

    Oct 5, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts (2) hits a two run home run against the New York Yankees during the first inning of the American League Wildcard game at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

    Will this be easy? No. Would Bogaerts do it? Unclear. His idol was Derek Jeter, who played his entire career with one team at one position. Presumably, Bogaerts covets something similar, but he might not be able to get both. The highest-paid shortstops and third basemen both make in the range of $30-$35 million per season and Bogaerts qualifies as one of those players. How the sides negotiate the ultimate value and length of the deal is open to debate, but something in the range of six years and $190 million (give or take) seems fair. That would bring Bogaerts[ earnings to $250 million over a nine-year period and at least help rectify the fact that he has been underpaid over the last two seasons.

  • Move Rafael Devers to DH and pay him at a premium

    Oct 3, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Boston Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers (11) hits a go-ahead two run home run against the Washington Nationals during the ninth inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

    Oct 3, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Boston Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers (11) hits a go-ahead two run home run against the Washington Nationals during the ninth inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

    If Story and Bogaerts are both on the left side of the infield, well, guess what? Devers won’t be. Part of the reason the Sox haven’t approached Devers about a long-term deal is probably because they don’t want to commit to (and pay) him as a third baseman, where he has ranked near the bottom of qualifying players in many advanced defensive metrics over the last four years. (In the aggregate, he is last among 15 qualifiers over the last four seasons.) The point? Devers’ future is probably as a DH and J.D. Martinez is a free agent at the end of this season. The top designated hitters really make somewhere in the range of $20-$25 million per season. Devers adores Bogaerts – and with good reason. So pay him like a top-of-the-market DH and maybe extend the contract on the longer side. Unlike Story and Bogaerts, Devers bats left-handed. That is critical for the balance of the Boston offense.

  • Move Story to shortstop, where he has more value

    Sep 28, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story (27) fields the ball in the third inning against the Washington Nationals at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

    Sep 28, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story (27) fields the ball in the third inning against the Washington Nationals at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

    Despite much of what you read and hear, Bogaerts is hardly a problem at shortstop. But Story is better. As long as Story is reasonably productive away from Coors Field – and this is always a concern with any former member of the Rockies – his contract with the Red Sox is completely in line with his value. Right now, he is one of the higher-paid second basemen in the game. If he moves to short, the Red Sox will get better value on the deal (which Story signed up for). By moving Story and Devers to shortstop and DH, respectively, the Red Sox can get much better value on those contracts and justify paying Bogaerts at the top of the market as the face and leader of the team.

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