Report highlights huge gap between Devers, Red Sox in contract talks originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
If we want to see Rafael Devers in a Boston Red Sox uniform past 2023, both sides have some serious work to do.
With Devers set to become an unrestricted free agent following the 2023 season, the All-Star third baseman and the Red Sox discussed a potential long-term extension this spring. But ESPN's Jeff Passan reported in April that there was a "significant gap" of nine figures (aka at least $100 million) between Devers' camp and the Red Sox.
On Monday, The Boston Globe's Alex Speier shared more insight on Boston's side of negotiations with Devers.
"According to a major league source familiar with the talks, the Red Sox identified Matt Olson’s eight-year, $168 million extension with Atlanta as a basis for discussions -- citing the likelihood that Devers would spend much of the contract either at first base or designated hitter," Speier wrote.
Devers confirmed Speier's report, stating he "knows his value" and wants to be recognized for who he is as a player.
Devers aimed "much higher" with his ask, per Speier, citing a belief that he can remain at third base, a position that generally earns a higher paycheck. Three third basemen currently make north of $30 million per year, while the highest-paid first-baseman, Freddie Freeman, is earning $27 million per year.
Even if Devers does move to first base or DH, he should command more than the $21 million per year on Olson's deal. Devers is already one of the game's best hitters at age 25 and is in the midst of a career year with a .324 batting average, an American League-leading 122 hits, 22 home runs and 55 RBIs through 86 games.
The Red Sox and Devers still have next offseason to work out an extension before he hits the open market. But lowball offers have cost Boston before (see: Jon Lester in 2014), and the team is at risk of losing a generational talent if it can't find common ground with Devers.