If the Boston Red Sox didn’t learn their lesson from Mookie Betts’ departure, surely they would’ve been schooled by Xander Bogaerts fleeing for a mega-deal with the San Diego Padres, a crisis that could’ve been averted with a bit of fair treatment at any point following the 2021 season (or after his below-market 2019 extension, to be honest).
According to a Monday morning update on the team’s current position in contract talks with Yankees Public Enemy No. 1 Rafael Devers, they haven’t learned squat.
Sure, the public bought their PR spin on Betts for a while, believing he “never wanted to be in Boston” and that his “testing free agency” mantra was just a cover for him eventually bolting. That sales pitch had an expiration date, though, when fans realized just how underwhelming the trade return was for Betts, lessened further by Chaim Bloom’s plea for the Dodgers to absorb David Price’s salary. Andrew Friedman was more than willing to do so, as it allowed them to surrender nothing more than an average regular with questionable facial hair (Alex Verdugo), a No. 3 catcher (Connor Wong), and the recently-DFA’d Jeter Downs.
This offseason, Bogaerts followed the “shortstop of the future” in Downs out the door, preferring an 11-year, $280 million offer from the Padres to Boston’s counter of “never-ending soup and breadsticks.”
If Devers does eventually agree to stay in Boston, that would surprise his representatives, who are reportedly preparing for free agency and crafting offers that are “galaxies apart” from what Red Sox ownership has in mind. What a pity.
Yankees might say goodbye to Red Sox star Rafael Devers, who’s in a different galaxy
The Red Sox letting Betts go and getting only roster fodder in return (though one of those three bits of roster fodder does murder the Yankees and pump his fists a lot, so that’s cool) was a generational error the second the deal was agreed upon.
The Red Sox letting Bogaerts reach his personal boiling point was unforgivable. Who cares about matching an 11-year offer? That offer never should’ve existed, if Boston had played their cards right.
Boston letting Devers go would be the most embarrassing of the triumvirate. No trade package to bungle like Betts, considering they’re probably going to play out the season. No need to worry about an aging curve, like with Bogaerts; Devers is 26 years old, and any big-market team worth a damn could stomach a few funky years on the back end to get six-plus years of an elite hitter’s prime. The Sox now need to determine whether they’re still a big-market team worth a damn.
It’s difficult to call any of these inner Boston rumblings “music to the Yankees’ ears” before this all plays out, considering Betts’ departure wrecked the roster, but didn’t prevent an ALCS run. But when Chaim Bloom is out on the podium sarcastically referencing Aaron Judge’s magical season and pretending he’d be “happy” for Devers if he blew all projections out of the water in 2023 while pricing himself out of town, it’s fun to fantasize about this move fulfilling the Rule of Three and putting the nail in Boston’s coffin.
"“We will probably, I think, go beyond reason to try to get this done,” Bloom said. “Hopefully we can get this done. There are always going to be limitations, like people can just put something plain out of reach. Some people love to bet on themselves and I hope he hits 63 homers if he does that.” (edited)"
No, no, Mr. Bloom. No need to go “beyond reason”; it’s well within reason to secure Devers, no matter the cost.
But you didn’t hear it from me. Hopefully, for our sake, you don’t hear it at all.