Rafael Devers Is Going to Get Paid Quickly, and Purple Sox Are on Clock – NBC10 Boston

Tomase: What’s Rafael Devers price, and can the Purple Sox pay it? initially appeared on NBC Sports activities Boston
Earlier than hitting pause on the offseason, baseball’s homeowners principally mashed each button within the arcade.
The Rangers dropped greater than half a billion {dollars} on their center infield. The Mets assured future Corridor of Famer Max Scherzer greater than $40 million a 12 months. The Rays signed wunderkind Wander Franco for the remainder of his 20s.

The numbers got here so shortly and dizzyingly, it was exhausting to maintain monitor of who went the place. Did the Jays prolong All-Star Jose Berrios or Cy Younger winner Robbie Ray? (Berrios). Did the Rangers signal Corey Seager or Marcus Semien or each? (Each). Did the Tigers actually drop $140 million on Javier Baez? (Sure.)
One participant undoubtedly watching the motion with a rooting curiosity was Purple Sox third baseman Rafael Devers. The 25-year-old is coming off his first All-Star season after hitting .279 with a career-high 38 homers and 113 RBIs. He adopted with a quietly productive postseason, blasting 5 homers with a 1.029 OPS in 12 video games.
With all due respect to Silver Slugging shortstop Xander Bogaerts, there’s little doubt that Devers is probably the most harmful hitter within the lineup. With prodigious energy from left-center to the proper discipline nook, Devers ranked amongst baseball’s leaders in exit velocity, hard-hit share, and barrel fee in 2021. He additionally walked on the highest fee of his profession whereas putting out on the second lowest. He’s changing into a whole hitter.
Full hitters value cash, and Devers has solely two years of arbitration eligibility remaining earlier than hitting free company within the fall of 2024 at age 28. If he stays on his present offensive trajectory, he’ll simply earn a nine-figure contract.
The query for the Purple Sox is how badly they wish to preserve that from occurring. Whereas all negotiations are on maintain through the lockout, there’s nothing stopping them from signing Devers long-term when there is a new CBA. The problem will probably be assessing his worth, which is sophisticated by plenty of elements, together with his age, defensive skill, future at third base, and even physique kind.
They’re nearing a degree of no return, as a result of the nearer Devers will get to free company, the extra seemingly he’s to check it.
A consideration of comps slots a Devers deal wherever from $150 million to $250 million, but it surely’s exhausting to see him cracking the $300 million plateau that so far has been reserved for both five-tool skills like Mookie Betts, Bryce Harper, and Fernando Tatis Jr., or for middle-of-the-diamond standouts like Corey Seager and presumably present free agent Carlos Correa.
Proper now, three third basemen are taking part in on contracts price greater than $200 million, and Devers compares most favorably to considered one of them. Padres All-Star Manny Machado leads the pack after signing for 10 years and $300 million in 2019.
Machado produces comparable offensive numbers as Devers, besides from the proper aspect of the plate, the place he, too, hammers the ball primarily to the pull aspect, however with energy to all fields. The place he separates himself is defensively. A two-time Gold Glover, Machado can play brief in a pinch and is in no hazard of leaving third base.
The identical can’t be stated of Devers, who has led the American League in errors on the scorching nook for 4 straight seasons and contributed to a porous infield protection that value Purple Sox pitchers extra runs (35) than any crew in baseball, per Statcast. It is simpler to justify an enormous contract for Devers if he stays at third. His worth drops at first base, which he has by no means performed, and it plummets at DH.
That is why it is exhausting to place him within the class of perennial Cardinals All-Star Nolan Arenado, both. The six-time All-Star would not fairly boast Devers’ uncooked energy when one accounts for all of the video games he performed in Colorado, however he is a nine-time Gold Glover who hit 34 bombs throughout his debut in St. Louis final 12 months.
Arenado signed a nine-year, $260 million extension with the Rockies at age 28 in 2019 earlier than being traded final winter. Whereas Devers is coming off his first All-Star look, Arenado had already completed within the high 5 of the MVP race thrice. He boasted the superior resume and had simply agreed to a report $26 million in arbitration when the Rockies prolonged him.
That leaves Devers’ finest comp. Anthony Rendon timed his foray into free company completely, main the Nationals to a title in 2019 earlier than hitting the market at age 29. The Angels pounced for seven years and $245 million, a deal that regarded regrettable when he hit simply .240 in 58 video games this season because of hamstring and hip points that additionally restricted his protection.
Rendon’s deal ensures him $35 million yearly. Seeing as that Chaim Bloom has but to pay anybody greater than the $14 million whole he gave Kiké Hernández over two years, it is troublesome to check the Purple Sox committing themselves to that prime of an AAV for Devers.
But when they wish to preserve him from free company, it’ll value them at the least $25 million a 12 months, particularly because the market explodes. The earlier they signal him, the much less they’ve to fret about his physique breaking down, too. The barrel-chested Devers is listed at 240 kilos and that is not an issue now in his mid-20s, but it surely might turn into one as he nears 30.
That is what makes Devers’ state of affairs so difficult. He is an elite hitter who hasn’t even entered his prime, however he is an iffy fielder who could find yourself throughout the diamond or at DH. He isn’t but a free agent, so the Purple Sox can be bidding solely towards themselves, however the sport is trending in the direction of youthful gamers signing extensions earlier than reaching free company and thus holding elevated leverage.
So let’s put a quantity on this — if the Purple Sox need Devers for the lengthy haul, we’re speaking at the least eight years and $200 million, as a result of slugging All-Stars do not come low cost.