Not every star player is leaving the Boston Red Sox.
Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers has agreed to an 11-year, $331 million contract extension that will begin with the 2024 season, according to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal. Devers had been on track to hit free agency after the 2023 season.
Source confirms: Rafael Devers in agreement with Red Sox on 11-year, $331M extension that begins in 2024. Deal includes $20M signing bonus. First with agreement was Carlos Baerga. Amount is indeed $331M, not $332M.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 4, 2023
With Devers under contract for this season at a $17.5 million salary, he is now tied to Boston through 2035 at a total price of $348.5 million. He remains relatively young among MLB stars, at 26 years old, but will be 38 by the end of this contract.
The deal rewards another strong season from Devers, who has established himself among the top third basemen in baseball. Over the past four seasons, he has hit .292/.352/.532, good for a 132 OPS+, with 108 homers and 359 RBIs.
The deal is also the largest amount of money ever guaranteed by the Red Sox, beating David Price's seven-year, $217 million pact in 2016, and it's the most money ever given to a third baseman. Only shortstops Francisco Lindor and Fernando Tatis Jr. have received more among infielders.
The Red Sox finally ponied up to keep one of their stars
Locking down Devers a year before free agency figures to be a pleasant surprise for Red Sox fans, who have seen an inordinate amount of talent exit Fenway Park in the years since president of baseball operations Chaim Bloom took over.
Most notable was Mookie Betts, whom the Red Sox traded rather than try to keep in 2020. This offseason saw star shortstop Xander Bogaerts depart for the San Diego Padres at the price of 11 years and $280 million, as well as J.D. Martinez (Los Angeles Dodgers) and Nate Eovaldi (Texas Rangers). Andrew Benintendi was traded last offseason, and Eduardo Rodriguez signed with the Detroit Tigers.
Devers was among the only meaningful players left from Boston's most recent World Series champion team in 2018, alongside Chris Sale. The question now is whether he will be part of the next Red Sox World Series team.
The Red Sox hadn't been entirely dormant this offseason, signing veterans Justin Turner, Kenley Jansen, Corey Kluber and Chris Martin. But that probably won't be enough to lift them from their last-place finish last year, especially in light of whom they've lost.
At least now they have some time to figure things out with Devers aboard.