The Boston Red Sox avoided arbitration with star third baseman Rafael Devers Tuesday, agreeing to a one-year, $17.5 million deal. The Red Sox have not agreed to a long-term extension with Devers, who will be a free agent following the 2023 Major League Baseball season.
If the Red Sox are unable to lock up Devers, perhaps the club will entertain the idea of trading him before he hits free agency.
The Red Sox failed to re-sign multi-All-Star Xander Bogaerts, who recently agreed to an 11-year, $280 million contract with the San Diego Padres. Three years ago, the Red Sox dealt Mookie Betts as he approached the final year of his contract.
The club could take a similar approach with him this season. The Red Sox finished dead-last in the American League East last season, and will have a difficult time making a move up in the standings in 2023.
If the Red Sox find themselves out of contention, the club will have the option of trading Devers, rather than letting him walk for just a compensation pick, as the club did Bogaerts this winter.
Devers, 26, is a two-time All-Star that has finished top-15 in American League MVP voting three separate times. He slashed .295/.358/.879 with 27 home runs and 88 RBI in 2022. He is one of the game’s best hitters, and could be highly coveted if he is ever available to be traded for.
After losing Bogaerts, the Red Sox could be approaching a rebuild, barring a remarkable turnaround in 2022. If the club does not plan to re-sign or extend Devers, it could collect a seismic haul in exchange for Devers’ services. It will be interesting to see how this story develops in the coming months.