The current contract situation with Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers is weird, to say the least.
During the All-Star break, Devers confirmed the report that the Red Sox’s contract offer to him was comparable to the one Braves first baseman Matt Olson signed, which was eight years for $168 million, via Alex Speier of the Boston Globe.
“[The offer] was pretty similar,” Devers said, via Speier. “I know my value. I don’t want to be compared with anyone else, regardless of what the position is. I’m me, and that’s who I want to be compared to. I know what my value is.”
That was all Devers said about the offer, keeping it clear he didn’t want to publicize his negotiations. And when asked what he believes his value is, he laughed and joked to Speier, “You’re trying to get me!”
Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported in April that Devers and Boston are potentially over $100 million apart in negotiations. Even with talks in a poor spot, Devers expressed his interest to only play for the Red Sox to Chris Cotillo of MassLive.
“If that can happen, that would be great,” Devers told Cotillo about finishing his career in Boston. “We know the type of city Boston is. If it were up to me, I’d stay here my whole career. It’s a great city to play for, great fans, great ballpark. Everything that involves the organization is great, so I hope I can finish my career here because that’s what I want.”
Matt Olson’s contract that is compared to Devers negotiation is an average salary of $21 million, ranking 41st in baseball. That would pay Boston’s third baseman less than Trevor Story and J.D. Martinez. Not to mention, the disparity of talent between Olson and Devers specifically, as Olson wasn’t an All-Star this season while Devers hit third for the American League.
“When I say not close at all, I mean not close at all,” ESPN baseball insider Jeff Passan said on “KayRod Cast” during a Sunday Night Baseball Game earlier this season. “It’s a significant, significant chasm between what Rafael Devers wants, and what the Boston Red Sox at this point have been willing to offer.”
Devers makes $11.2 million this season and after one more season where he’s eligible for arbitration, he becomes an unrestricted free agent after 2023.