The Rafael Devers Extension Thread

OCD SS

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New threads are good and having to go into an offseason discussion thread to discuss a contract extension (or anything really) now that the season has started is making my brain itch.

Ultimately how good Devers is, especially compared to his peers is up for debate, but I don't think it's going out on a limb to say that going forward, at age 25, he's the best impact bat the Sox have in the organization. I was thinking about my response to Sean's post that helped crystalize things for me.

Yea I see Devers as a great hitter at 3B but I am very wary of offering him any sort of 10 year deal at $30 million plus. I don't really expect him to get any better defensively at 3B and I doubt many other teams do either. I am not sure what the team really gets out of extending him now instead of just trying to extend him when he is a FA. If he looks even more like a future 1B/DH type in 2024, he is looking at a slightly elevated Matt Olson contract.
The point to extending him now is that if you assume the length of the deal & amount of guaranteed money aren't going to lessen when he's a FA, you're buying prime years, rather than the back end decline. It makes it more likely that the contract provides value for the team, and you aren't bidding against an open field.

Juan Soto is a FA the year after Devers is and is two years younger.
And if the Sox have a chance to bid on him, so will everyone else. Do you really think this Sox ownership group is going to be the team that outbids everyone else? I think this ownership group's commitment to their ideas about how to pay for roster construction and the winners curse are mutually exclusive.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I think the Sox need a centerpiece like Ortiz was for 14 seasons to build around and Raffy seems the most obvious candidate. He may not be quite in the upper echelon of hitters but he's right on the edge and has shown some clutch prowess too. I think it's worth giving him a 10 year whatever the hell he wants contract. Everyone here says the Sox "have the money and the space", so I don't care what the F the contract seasonal value is. All the guys are stupidly overpaid so F it.
 

allmanbro

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Part of the worry in FA is that somebody somewhere will be willing to pay Devers like a 3B and play him there. I wonder if this could be a sales pitch to get Xander to swap with Story: "we feel comfortable with Devers at 3B only if Story can cover some of the ground next to him."

If Devers leaves, Bloom will find someone who is a worse player but a better fit, and the team will be fine. But I like Raffy and hope they can keep him here.
 

chawson

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And if the Sox have a chance to bid on him, so will everyone else. Do you really think this Sox ownership group is going to be the team that outbids everyone else? I think this ownership group's commitment to their ideas about how to pay for roster construction and the winners curse are mutually exclusive.
I think if the Sox ownership isn’t sincerely in on Soto, they should sell the team. I’d still bet the field over the Sox to land him, but if there ever was a generational talent, it’s him. And for a guy who says David Ortiz is like a father to him, I’m sure we could make a good pitch.

A front office quietly committed to landing Soto may be the only compelling argument I see against signing Devers to a mega deal (say, if you think both are DHs by 2027). But even that seems possible with the number of prospects we’ve got on the up.

I think the calls for fiscal prudence are missing the point. Here’s my case:

2025
Kiké - CF ($15M per year, ‘23-26)
Soto - RF ($42M per year, ‘25-36)
Bogaerts - 3B ($25M per year through ‘29)
Devers - DH ($28M through ‘32)
Story - 2B ($23.3M through ‘27)
Casas - 1B (pre-arb)
Mayer - SS (pre-arb)
Yorke - LF (pre-arb)
Hernández - C (pre-arb)

Pre-arb bench options: Hamilton, McDonough, Binelas, Downs, Jimenez, Wong, Bleis, Jordan, Rafaela, Paulino
Arb bench options: Dalbec (arb2), Duran (pre-arb/arb1)

Rotation:
Eovaldi ($17M per year, ‘23-25)
Whitlock (arb2)
Houck (arb1)
Wilkelman Gonzalez (pre-arb)
Seabold/Mata/Groome/Walter/Song (pre-arb)

Pre-arb bullpen candidates: Winckowski, Bello, Olds, Wallace, German
Arb bullpen: Crawford, Taylor, D. Hernandez

That’s more than 26 names, but take your pick of the bench and bullpen options and that 40-man roster costs roughly $195-200M, if my math is right, factoring pre-arb players making the 2026 minimum of $780,000. I assumed $10 for Whitlock in his arb2 year, $4 for Houck in arb1, $5M for Dalbec in arb2 and $5 for Taylor/Hernández in their arb4.

This assumes a few things: One, that Bogaerts is up to play third and can. Two, that we sign Soto to a 12/$504M contract -- no sure bet, but an incredible move, I think. And three, that Whitlock and Houck adapt to the rotation and two of those SP prospects work out (or Dalbec/Duran is traded for one).

Is that the best team we could field? Maybe not. But it sure looks like a monster to me. Will all those prospects pan out? No. But it’s a blueprint, one of several paths. My point is that because of our prospect depth, we could afford to keep all these guys (Devers, Bogaerts, Eovaldi, Kiké) plus sign Soto at the >$500M deal he reportedly wants, and still field a great team comfortably under the first CBT — or about $80-90 million less than the current Dodgers payroll.
 
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Petagine in a Bottle

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That’s like $1b in salary commitment. Re-signing Devers and Boagerts and Hernandez and Eovaldi and adding Soto seems unlikely.
 

Minneapolis Millers

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I think if the Sox ownership isn’t sincerely in on Soto, they should sell the team. I’d still bet the field over the Sox to land him, but if there ever was a generational talent, it’s him. And for a guy who says David Ortiz is like a father to him, I’m sure we could make a good pitch.

A front office quietly committed to landing Soto may be the only compelling argument I see against signing Devers to a mega deal (say, if you think both are DHs by 2027). But even that seems possible with the number of prospects we’ve got on the up.

I think the calls for fiscal prudence are missing the point. Here’s my case:

2025
Kiké - CF ($15M per year, ‘23-26)
Soto - RF ($42M per year, ‘25-36)
Bogaerts - 3B ($25M per year through ‘29)
Devers - DH ($28M through ‘32)
Story - 2B ($23.3M through ‘27)
Casas - 1B (pre-arb)
Mayer - SS (pre-arb)
Yorke - LF (pre-arb)
Hernández - C (pre-arb)

Pre-arb bench options: Hamilton, McDonough, Binelas, Downs, Duran, Jimenez, Wong, Bleis, Jordan, Rafaela, Paulino
Other bench options: Dalbec (arb2)

Rotation:
Eovaldi ($17M per year, ‘23-25)
Whitlock (arb2)
Houck (arb1)
Wilkelman Gonzalez (pre-arb)
Seabold/Mata/Groome/Walter/Song (pre-arb)

Pre-arb bullpen candidates: Winckowski, Bello, Olds, Wallace, German
Arb bullpen: Crawford, Taylor, D. Hernandez

That’s more than 26 names, but take your pick of the bench and bullpen options and that 40-man roster costs roughly $195-200M, if my math is right, factoring pre-arb players making the 2026 minimum of $780,000. I assumed $10 for Whitlock in his arb2 year, $4 for Houck in arb1, $5M for Dalbec in arb2 and $5 for Taylor/Hernández in their arb4.

This assumes a few things: One, that Bogaerts is up to play third and can, which is no sure bet. Two, that we sign Soto to a 12/$504M contract, hardly bankable, but would be a good thing, but is hardly bankable. And three, that Whitlock and Houck adapt to the rotation and two of those SP prospects work out (maybe Dalbec is traded for another).

Is that the best team we could field? Maybe not. But it sure looks like a monster to me. Will all those prospects pan out? No. But it’s a blueprint, one of several paths. My point is that because of our prospect depth, we could afford to keep all these guys (Devers, Bogaerts, Eovaldi, Kiké) plus sign Soto at the >$500M deal he reportedly wants, and still field a great team comfortably under the first CBT — or about $80-90 less than the current Dodgers payroll.
I appreciate this work. A couple of quibbles/observations. Sale needs to be listed; that’s another $27M. Eovaldi looks low. They only resign him for 3/$51 if he doesn’t have a particularly good year, in which case Sale better be back and pitching well or that rotation is a mess. The BP is a complete question mark. But I also think it would be odd roster construction to build a $200M+ roster with only $55-60M committed to pitching.

I will certainly agree that almost any Sox line up with Soto in it will look good!
 

chawson

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I appreciate this work. A couple of quibbles/observations. Sale needs to be listed; that’s another $27M. Eovaldi looks low. They only resign him for 3/$51 if he doesn’t have a particularly good year, in which case Sale better be back and pitching well or that rotation is a mess. The BP is a complete question mark. But I also think it would be odd roster construction to build a $200M roster with under $50M committed to pitching.

I will certainly agree that almost any Sox line up with Soto in it will look good!
I’m assuming the Sox are declining Sale’s $20M club option in 2025. I don’t think there’s a buyout, and there are a bunch of deferrals if the Sox pick it up, but you’re right that it’s a potential factor. And same for Eovaldi - I don’t know what he’ll sign for.

Speaking of which, the Athletic published a piece on Eovaldi’s contract year. Eovaldi said he was not offered an extension this spring.

“I don’t know if that was the plan or not, (but) I’d be willing to,” Eovaldi said when asked if he’d negotiate in-season. “I want to go out there and focus on what I have to do, and as long as I’m able to go out there and take care of my business out there, it should make it easier for them to make the decision that they choose.”
3/$51 could well be low, but that phrasing makes it seem like he’s open to staying.
 
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allmanbro

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I think if the Sox ownership isn’t sincerely in on Soto, they should sell the team. I’d still bet the field over the Sox to land him, but if there ever was a generational talent, it’s him. And for a guy who says David Ortiz is like a father to him, I’m sure we could make a good pitch.

A front office quietly committed to landing Soto may be the only compelling argument I see against signing Devers to a mega deal (say, if you think both are DHs by 2027). But even that seems possible with the number of prospects we’ve got on the up.

I think the calls for fiscal prudence are missing the point. Here’s my case:

2025
Kiké - CF ($15M per year, ‘23-26)
Soto - RF ($42M per year, ‘25-36)
Bogaerts - 3B ($25M per year through ‘29)
Devers - DH ($28M through ‘32)
Story - 2B ($23.3M through ‘27)
Casas - 1B (pre-arb)
Mayer - SS (pre-arb)
Yorke - LF (pre-arb)
Hernández - C (pre-arb)

Pre-arb bench options: Hamilton, McDonough, Binelas, Downs, Duran, Jimenez, Wong, Bleis, Jordan, Rafaela, Paulino
Other bench options: Dalbec (arb2)

Rotation:
Eovaldi ($17M per year, ‘23-25)
Whitlock (arb2)
Houck (arb1)
Wilkelman Gonzalez (pre-arb)
Seabold/Mata/Groome/Walter/Song (pre-arb)

Pre-arb bullpen candidates: Winckowski, Bello, Olds, Wallace, German
Arb bullpen: Crawford, Taylor, D. Hernandez

That’s more than 26 names, but take your pick of the bench and bullpen options and that 40-man roster costs roughly $195-200M, if my math is right, factoring pre-arb players making the 2026 minimum of $780,000. I assumed $10 for Whitlock in his arb2 year, $4 for Houck in arb1, $5M for Dalbec in arb2 and $5 for Taylor/Hernández in their arb4.

This assumes a few things: One, that Bogaerts is up to play third and can, which is no sure bet. Two, that we sign Soto to a 12/$504M contract, hardly bankable, but would be a good thing, but is hardly bankable. And three, that Whitlock and Houck adapt to the rotation and two of those SP prospects work out (maybe Dalbec is traded for another).

Is that the best team we could field? Maybe not. But it sure looks like a monster to me. Will all those prospects pan out? No. But it’s a blueprint, one of several paths. My point is that because of our prospect depth, we could afford to keep all these guys (Devers, Bogaerts, Eovaldi, Kiké) plus sign Soto at the >$500M deal he reportedly wants, and still field a great team comfortably under the first CBT — or about $80-90 less than the current Dodgers payroll.
That's an exciting lineup to look at. Maybe a less exciting pitching staff though. If you think Duran or Jimenez can stick, then there may not be a need to extend Kiké, and that money can go to a starter; add a Montas/Musgrvoe/Nola/Marquez/Castillo level SP in his place, and the overall payroll goes up, but that that could be a team that likely beats what will certainly be a strong 2025 Toronto team.

But I agree with your actual point, and I think the path you outline looks a lot like the Dodgers model.
 

azsoxpatsfan

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Signing Soto would be incredible, I love that guy. I’m always interested by long contracts. Like, 10 years from now it’s likely tons of guys will be getting paid $30 million a year. It seems like locking up elite players long term is risky, but part of the risk is mitigated by the constant increases in salary for all players
 

snowmanny

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Dec 8, 2005
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The big money Red Sox FA signing generally regarded as the best was an 8-year contract to a 28/29 year old no-field slugger. Anchored that lineup for 7 1/2 years. (I know the caveats)...but, sure Devers, Soto, whatever the price I won't blink.

Not Judge though.
 

Max Power

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This year is going to be important to find out who Devers might become over the 8 to 10 years he's looking to be signed for. He's been a good hitter whose shown flashes of greatness at an important defensive position that he doesn't play well. If he can take a step forward as a hitter or defender, then signing him for big money over a decade would be perfectly reasonable. But if his current abilities represent the peak of his skills, he's much more easily replaceable.
 

Cesar Crespo

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Dec 22, 2002
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I think if the Sox ownership isn’t sincerely in on Soto, they should sell the team. I’d still bet the field over the Sox to land him, but if there ever was a generational talent, it’s him. And for a guy who says David Ortiz is like a father to him, I’m sure we could make a good pitch.

A front office quietly committed to landing Soto may be the only compelling argument I see against signing Devers to a mega deal (say, if you think both are DHs by 2027). But even that seems possible with the number of prospects we’ve got on the up.

I think the calls for fiscal prudence are missing the point. Here’s my case:

2025
Kiké - CF ($15M per year, ‘23-26)
Soto - RF ($42M per year, ‘25-36)
Bogaerts - 3B ($25M per year through ‘29)
Devers - DH ($28M through ‘32)
Story - 2B ($23.3M through ‘27)
Casas - 1B (pre-arb)
Mayer - SS (pre-arb)
Yorke - LF (pre-arb)
Hernández - C (pre-arb)

Pre-arb bench options: Hamilton, McDonough, Binelas, Downs, Jimenez, Wong, Bleis, Jordan, Rafaela, Paulino
Arb bench options: Dalbec (arb2), Duran (pre-arb/arb1)

Rotation:
Eovaldi ($17M per year, ‘23-25)
Whitlock (arb2)
Houck (arb1)
Wilkelman Gonzalez (pre-arb)
Seabold/Mata/Groome/Walter/Song (pre-arb)

Pre-arb bullpen candidates: Winckowski, Bello, Olds, Wallace, German
Arb bullpen: Crawford, Taylor, D. Hernandez
People are always underselling Brayan Bello on this board. I hope he doesn't get injured. I have "binkies" and he was one so I get I might be extremely biased. My binkies are basically guys who perform very well but don't necessarily have the best tools/stuff that I track far too much, and/or guys who are likely to make the MLB but not stick. It's fun when a "pitchability" guy goes from 92 to 97. He already knew how to pitch. He's now figuring out how to use the added velocity. He's slight of frame but in today's game, he's not going through the order more than 2 times anyway. At the very least, he should be in the Seabold/Mata/Groome/Walter/Song group. He's on quite a few top 100 lists and ranked 4-6 on pretty much all Red Sox top 10 lists. I saw him pitch a few times. One of those times, he made everyone look foolish. He was working with 3 plus pitches. It's going to be about consistency. His change up is particularly nasty. I like him more than Wilkelman but I'm also very high on Wilkelman so I won't argue that too much.

Other pitchers I've actually seen pitch a few times that don't have (much) MLB experience (all in Portland): Take in mind I'm not a scout and I could have seen these players on the right or bad day.
Mata: Wasn't very impressed. Stuff is decent but for whatever reason, he doesn't fool anyone or miss many bats. Wit that said, he was a 20 year old kid holding his own in AA. He was far from a finished prospect and had also added 4-6 mph of velocity over the off season. Much like Bello, he was a pitchability guy who added significant velocity. This was 2019, too.

Winckowski: Not a fan at all. I have a heavy bias towards strikeout pitchers. He is not that. Though, maybe he'd fair better with MLB level defense behind him in the infield. He does induce a lot of GB.

Groome: I saw his first AA start visiting the parents in NH. I saw his 2nd start back in Portland. I was super impressed and came away questioning the reports of diminished stuff that was reported earlier in the season. After his first few starts in 2021, he was actually pretty dominant. In the 2 starts I saw, he went a combined 11.0 innings, 4 hits, 0r, 1bb/19 strike outs. 39 Batters faced. He struck out almost half the guys who came to the plate and made them look foolish.

The Tanner Houck I saw in Portland is not the Tanner Houck that exists today so I'm not going to bother.

Kutter Crawford: Another binky of mine because I knew he was all but a given to make the majors. I'm not sure how successful he will be but he's been a different pitcher since returning from TJ. His season is also masked by a few bad starts. I saw probably his best game of the season in July where his curve was looking particularly sharp. Also saw him stink up the joint in May.

On another note, while I'm not sold on Ronaldo at all, I know that's not the point of the list. I've asked what I presume are scouts in Portland about Sox prospects you don't hear much about. 1 name that came up more than once was C Enderso Lira (who is very far away). They all liked his approach at the plate at such a young age. Brainer Bonaci came up a few times, though with huge caveats that he's the classic overachiever archetype. I also may have specifically remembered Brainer because he's another binky.

edit: and another side note, if you are rooting for another pitchability guy to gain 4-6 mph, Jorge Rodriguez is the guy you should wish it on.
 
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OCD SS

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The most recent Effectively Wild Podcast did an interesting breakdown of players that have been paid the closest to their actual value over their careers (starting around 1:12:00). Depending on where you set the thresholds, there are a lot of Red Sox on the list.
  • Old friend Allen Craig is very close once you raise the thresholds beyond basic minimums
  • Both Tazawa and DiceK also grade out very favorably (but I don't think include the posting fees)
  • Prince Fielder leads the mega-contract category
The methodology used is pretty simple: total contract earnings over a full career compared against their Fangraphs value ($/WAR). You can perhaps quibble with any of the components used, but I think it really points out how just how much surplus value accrues to the teams in those early years - both Craig and Fielder accrued most of their value early in their careers, so the back end of their FA deals were a bust, but for what we still think of as "bad" contracts they wound up being paid fairly over the course of their careers. Think of a player like Pujols, who still wound up producing a good deal of surplus value over the course of his career. It also turns out that Japanese players who come over and skip right to FA contracts, tend to be paid very fairly...

So it shouldn't really be a surprise that players aren't really willing to then give back even more of their value in the form of a hometown discount to a super-rich baseball team that has been paying them peanuts compared to their worth for years.

Just looking at Devers by this methodology, FG has him as putting up $102.9 M in his first 5 seasons and the Sox have paid him less than $18M for his time in Boston.

If we're rooting for JWH to win the payroll efficiency award, then the cost of that is going to be watching homegrown players leave, because the back end of these deals aren't usually great, but there's really no way to argue that these deals should be hampering the team's ability to spend and field a competitive team. To those taking the "we'll be fine" approach that the Sox will just come up with a way to replace Devers, I would point out the state of the rotation this season. There aren't always enough good players to do around, so I think it behooves a team to take advantage of an exclusive negotiating window when they have it.
 

BaseballJones

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Oct 1, 2015
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What would Sox fans rather have in the infield in, say, 2025?

a) Devers, Bogaerts, Story, and Casas for a combined $95 mil

or

b) Jordan, Mayer, Yorke, and Casas for a combined $10 mil

Obviously this exercise contains all kinds of unknowns. The biggest one being: we don’t really know how good the young guys are or will be.
 

OCD SS

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You can break things down a little more, but just considering 3B, neither Jordan or Binelas are sure thing 3Bmen; both have suspect defense enought that already both get listed as 3B/ 1B on Sox Prospects. Why not include Dalbec then as an option at 3B?

(That's rehtorical, I know why.)
 
May 30, 2014
386
What would Sox fans rather have in the infield in, say, 2025?

a) Devers, Bogaerts, Story, and Casas for a combined $95 mil

or

b) Jordan, Mayer, Yorke, and Casas for a combined $10 mil

Obviously this exercise contains all kinds of unknowns. The biggest one being: we don’t really know how good the young guys are or will be.
I think the underlying question there is "who is pitching, and how much are they getting paid?". As a fan, I don't care about individual contracts per se - only that they don't impact the ability of the team to be strong across the board.
 

RedOctober3829

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Jul 19, 2005
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deep inside Guido territory
What would Sox fans rather have in the infield in, say, 2025?

a) Devers, Bogaerts, Story, and Casas for a combined $95 mil

or

b) Jordan, Mayer, Yorke, and Casas for a combined $10 mil

Obviously this exercise contains all kinds of unknowns. The biggest one being: we don’t really know how good the young guys are or will be.
We don't know when 3 of the 4 are going to be ready to contribute at the major league level especially Mayer as he's just starting his pro career. As you said, a lot of unknowns. I don't care how much the payroll is and I don't care that John Henry saves money or not. Spend the money that it takes in order to have a World Series-worthy team every year.
 

Max Power

thai good. you like shirt?
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Jul 20, 2005
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Boston, MA
The most recent Effectively Wild Podcast did an interesting breakdown of players that have been paid the closest to their actual value over their careers (starting around 1:12:00). Depending on where you set the thresholds, there are a lot of Red Sox on the list.
  • Old friend Allen Craig is very close once you raise the thresholds beyond basic minimums
  • Both Tazawa and DiceK also grade out very favorably (but I don't think include the posting fees)
  • Prince Fielder leads the mega-contract category
The methodology used is pretty simple: total contract earnings over a full career compared against their Fangraphs value ($/WAR). You can perhaps quibble with any of the components used, but I think it really points out how just how much surplus value accrues to the teams in those early years - both Craig and Fielder accrued most of their value early in their careers, so the back end of their FA deals were a bust, but for what we still think of as "bad" contracts they wound up being paid fairly over the course of their careers. Think of a player like Pujols, who still wound up producing a good deal of surplus value over the course of his career. It also turns out that Japanese players who come over and skip right to FA contracts, tend to be paid very fairly...

So it shouldn't really be a surprise that players aren't really willing to then give back even more of their value in the form of a hometown discount to a super-rich baseball team that has been paying them peanuts compared to their worth for years.

Just looking at Devers by this methodology, FG has him as putting up $102.9 M in his first 5 seasons and the Sox have paid him less than $18M for his time in Boston.

If we're rooting for JWH to win the payroll efficiency award, then the cost of that is going to be watching homegrown players leave, because the back end of these deals aren't usually great, but there's really no way to argue that these deals should be hampering the team's ability to spend and field a competitive team. To those taking the "we'll be fine" approach that the Sox will just come up with a way to replace Devers, I would point out the state of the rotation this season. There aren't always enough good players to do around, so I think it behooves a team to take advantage of an exclusive negotiating window when they have it.
The flip side of this is that if every player were paid "fairly" according to Fangraphs, a 100 win team would have a $400 million payroll. Total league payrolls would be almost $8 billion (81 - 48 wins x 30 teams x $8 million). So the average player must be cheated over the course of their career according to Fangraphs in order for the financial structure of the league to make sense.

In a sustainable model where payrolls are 50% of the $10 billion league revenue, teams would be paying $5 billion divided by 30 teams divided by 33 average wins over replacement = $5 million per win across the roster. Of course that number changes over the 10 or 20 years of a player's career, but I think $5 million per win is a more accurate number than $8 million when you're looking at fair compensation for someone's contributions.
 

BillMuellerFanClub

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Aug 1, 2006
1,326
What would Sox fans rather have in the infield in, say, 2025?

a) Devers, Bogaerts, Story, and Casas for a combined $95 mil

or

b) Jordan, Mayer, Yorke, and Casas for a combined $10 mil
Right now, with all the untapped potential in the world, you'd be crazy not to dream about scenario B. I know I am. I love Devers and X, I'd want them both here for a long time at the right price. However, there is definitely a point in which I'd walk away and, while that is heavily informed by the gaggle of eye-popping prospects listed above, its the general depth of the farm system and the clear emphasis that really does it for me. The Dodgers are the perfect analog for what I think Chaim is building here in Boston, but it's early. Offering contracts to players that contain substantial risk to being negative assets does not align with the M/O - at least not yet. Give Chaim another two seasons like this last two and they'll be in a position to offer Mookie-like extensions to home-grown all-stars. I've never been a GFIN, "its not my money" kind of fan, though. And I don't blame those that are.

Hard to read this article and not be boarding the prospect hypetrain.

https://roanoke.com/sports/baseball/opening-day-marcelo-mayer-blaze-jordan-highlight-stacked-salem-red-sox-roster/article_337f144e-b6aa-11ec-8585-2b39c81499d0.html

“To me, he definitely has the best swing in baseball — I would say even in the big leagues,” Jordan said. “It’s one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen. I think he’s going to have a really long big-league career, definitely an all-star and all that. I really think he’s got a lot going for him.”
Including a personality that Montz adores.

“He’s a kid who says thank you at the end of the day every day,” Montz said of Mayer. “I kind of question myself: Why are you thanking me? I want to thank you for the way you go about it. He plays the game hard. He runs the bases hard. He’s a great teammate. I see him talk to his guys in the dugout. He’s a phenomenal, phenomenal human being. You’re looking at almost a Nick Yorke last year.
“It’ll be fun,” Salem general manager Allen Lawrence said. “I don’t know if this is the equivalent of the 2016 team with [Yoan] Moncada and [Rafael] Devers and [Andrew] Benintendi, but we’ve got a pretty good team.”
 

Heating up in the bullpen

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If we're rooting for JWH to win the payroll efficiency award...
I'm rooting for the Red Sox to win baseball games and championships. Emphasis on the plural. To do that over the course of years requires some financial discipline, because bad (too much money for too long) contracts kill teams in this Cap era.
I hated seeing Mookie go, but I completely understand not paying him $30M a year for 12 years. Even as the cap number rises, $30M is still 1/8 of $240M. You still have to pay 25 other players.
Do the Cardinals regret not keeping Pujols for the back half of his career? No. Do the Tigers regret the Cabrera extension? Probably.
Players get hurt. Their skills fade. Why be on the hook for that for big money for many years?
I'd hate to see Xander leave. I'd hate to see Devers leave. But I'd also hate to see the Red Sox be an also-ran team because they've got guys locked into bad contracts.
 

YTF

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What would Sox fans rather have in the infield in, say, 2025?

a) Devers, Bogaerts, Story, and Casas for a combined $95 mil

or

b) Jordan, Mayer, Yorke, and Casas for a combined $10 mil

Obviously this exercise contains all kinds of unknowns. The biggest one being: we don’t really know how good the young guys are or will be.
I think it's likely to be neither. Perhaps option B stands a chance with Story in LF and Devers as DH?
 

Rovin Romine

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What would Sox fans rather have in the infield in, say, 2025?

a) Devers, Bogaerts, Story, and Casas for a combined $95 mil

or

b) Jordan, Mayer, Yorke, and Casas for a combined $10 mil

Obviously this exercise contains all kinds of unknowns. The biggest one being: we don’t really know how good the young guys are or will be.
I'd rather have a competitive team that's poised to grow. Any path will do.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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moondog80

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Being far apart (even 9 figures worth) doesn't necessarily mean the Sox are low-balling him. If the Sox are offering 6/180 and he's asking 12/400 or something, that's extremely far apart without a low-ball offer involved.
Might not as big as 6 vs 12 years but yes, they are probably close in AAV but 4+ years apart on contract length.
 

Van Everyman

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I would be horrified if they offered Devers a 12 year contract. Or anyone really. I don’t blame Raffy for asking but this tendency toward anything over eight years for premium money seems insane. And it 100% does not seem necessary to compete.
 

Minneapolis Millers

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Has Devers been a better player than Trevor Story over the past 4 years? I don’t think so. So if we can get a guy like Story for 6/$140, why would the team entertain going 10+ years at a significantly higher AAV for Devers? Raffy is younger, so maybe I’d go longer at the same AAV. Or give him slightly more AAV for the same number of years, hoping that his best years are still ahead. But giving him more years and a higher AAV seems imprudent, especially now, when the team has 2 more years of control.

Devers is not a perennial MVP candidate. If he’s looking for that kind of deal, he’s going to have to get better, or he’s going to end up both disappointed and on another team.
 

BornToRun

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Being far apart (even 9 figures worth) doesn't necessarily mean the Sox are low-balling him. If the Sox are offering 6/180 and he's asking 12/400 or something, that's extremely far apart without a low-ball offer involved.
I can’t imagine they’re lowballing him after being willing to give Story 140 million dollars. Clearly, they’re willing to spend and it‘s probably a case of Devers wanting more than is reasonable which, by all means, is fine and his right to pursue. If he’s pulling an Aaron Judge then I’m fine with us not going there.
 

Toe Nash

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I am one of the folks who is still mad at the Sox about Betts, and while that debate is over, I think wealthy teams should sometimes "overpay" for homegrown stars at premium positions who are fan favorites and likely to not collapse in value over the contract.

But Devers is not Mookie. He's not as selective at the plate, he's less athletic, and he's not as good defensively or as a baserunner. While he has more power and that should stick around, he looks likely to move to DH and it wouldn't be shocking to see him decline at the plate by the end of an 8-year or even a 6-year deal.

The Sox are also in a better position in the infield with Story and the top prospects they have added than they were in the outfield when Betts was traded (Getting Verdugo back helped). There's also nothing particularly special about playing third at Fenway like there is about playing right field.

I don't think I would offer more than 6 years (from now) to Devers and I would be surprised if he took that for any AAV. And it shouldn't leave a big hole in the roster.
 

mikcou

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Being far apart (even 9 figures worth) doesn't necessarily mean the Sox are low-balling him. If the Sox are offering 6/180 and he's asking 12/400 or something, that's extremely far apart without a low-ball offer involved.
6/180, if they offered, may not be a lowball (I'd argue it probably is - a 6 year offer to a guy who is going to be 27 for the first year of the extension is not a market term), but its an offer they know hes going to reject absent an opt out(s) structure that allows him to go back to the market at 29 or 30. That's not meaningful negotiations.

Devers would be insane to give up his likely statistical prime (usually 27-31/32 or so) for such a short deal and such a small AAV. Were talking about this deal in the context of the Yankees offering Judge (a reasonably similar 5 win player) 7/215 for his age 31 through 37 seasons. One of the reasons stars get so much is that they typically are in the majors in their early 20s and can cash out their true prime years. Even a guy like Story is meaningfully harmed by coming onto the market at 29 rather than 26/27 for the guys who debut in their early 20s - 6 year deals are very different when you're buying ages 33 and 34 rather than 27 and 28.
 

YTF

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This does not sound good. To me, it sounds like what I thought was going on and that's the Red Sox lowballing him.
View: https://twitter.com/MerloniFauria/status/1513547600049364995
You have to take this shit with a grain of salt, especially when we don't know the terms that are being sought or offered. Is either side looking to rip up this year's contract and start from this season forward? If that's been requested and denied is that lowballing? Is a seven year offer vs a ten year ask at a slightly higher AAV but lower total over the course of the contract being lowballed? It might be a damn fine offer over the course of years offered and still be $50M lower than the overall ask. That can be seen as a significant chasm while not being a lowball offer.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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6/180, if they offered, may not be a lowball (I'd argue it probably is - a 6 year offer to a guy who is going to be 27 for the first year of the extension is not a market term), but its an offer they know hes going to reject absent an opt out(s) structure that allows him to go back to the market at 29 or 30. That's not meaningful negotiations.

Devers would be insane to give up his likely statistical prime (usually 27-31/32 or so) for such a short deal and such a small AAV. Were talking about this deal in the context of the Yankees offering Judge (a reasonably similar 5 win player) 7/215 for his age 31 through 37 seasons. One of the reasons stars get so much is that they typically are in the majors in their early 20s and can cash out their true prime years. Even a guy like Story is meaningfully harmed by coming onto the market at 29 rather than 26/27 for the guys who debut in their early 20s - 6 year deals are very different when you're buying ages 33 and 34 rather than 27 and 28.
I was just throwing out numbers for the sake of argument. Personally, I'm with Lou Merloni's tweet from last week thinking that something in the 8/200 neighborhood, with an opt-out after 5 years, is where the Red Sox are ultimately going to land. I'd go as far as 8/220 (5/130 before the opt-out, 3/90 after). If he's asking for 10-12 at 300-360M+, that would put them nine figures apart with both sides coming out fairly reasonable, especially if Devers eventually gets that 10/300+ deal in free agency.
 

jon abbey

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You have to take this shit with a grain of salt, especially when we don't know the terms that are being sought or offered. Is either side looking to rip up this year's contract and start from this season forward? If that's been requested and denied is that lowballing? Is a seven year offer vs a ten year ask at a slightly higher AAV but lower total over the course of the contract being lowballed? It might be a damn fine offer over the course of years offered and still be $50M lower than the overall ask. That can be seen as a significant chasm while not being a lowball offer.
Passan specifically says a nine figure difference between the sides, big FAs tend to sign until 37-38 currently so I’m sure he wants at least 10 years if not 12.
 

mikcou

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I was just throwing out numbers for the sake of argument. Personally, I'm with Lou Merloni's tweet from last week thinking that something in the 8/200 neighborhood, with an opt-out after 5 years, is where the Red Sox are ultimately going to land. I'd go as far as 8/220 (5/130 before the opt-out, 3/90 after). If he's asking for 10-12 at 300-360M+, that would put them nine figures apart with both sides coming out fairly reasonable, especially if Devers eventually gets that 10/300+ deal in free agency.
I suspect that the 8/200 or 8/220 is around their offer as compared to a 10/320 or 11/340 type counter for the nine figure difference. I dont think even 8/220 is materially different offer from 6/180 for a 27 to be FA. Realistically Devers projects as a 4.5-5 win player in his prime - at $9M/win thats $45-50M a year - its pretty reasonable to say that just ages 27 to 31 should be in the $220M range. Devers should rightfully be asking for $300M+. A reasonable middle ground seems like something in the 8/250 or 9/275 range. 8/200 just wont get any significant traction.

Passan specifically says a nine figure difference between the sides, big FAs tend to sign until 37-38 currently so I’m sure he wants at least 10 years if not 12.
I dont think they need to sign for that long - its just how teams have historically compensated stars for their prime years - instead of paying them their value on a deal for their prime years, they overpay on additional years that they know the reasonable projections have them being a marginal player. Teams dont want to pay a Devers (or a Judge) $45-$50M a year on a shorter term deal so they spread it over a longer period of time and pay $30M for say Judges age 35, 36, 37 seasons where any reasonable projection has it worth half that (or less) to compensate for underpaying on the front end (plus presumably some cost of capital). In some ways, the Correa contract is a bit of move towards a team perhaps doing shorter term deals that compensate closer to market for prime years with the opt outs obviously significantly reducing the price tag. It would be interesting if we start to see some straight 3/4 year deals without the opt outs.

This of course a huge component for Devers as his next deal legitimately covers his entire likely 5-6 year peak - hes going to get a massive premium somewhere - either in the AAV or the years to be compensated for that.
 

BaseballJones

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They've got plenty of time to work out an extension. He's under team control for this and next year.
 

Scoops Bolling

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The most recent Effectively Wild Podcast did an interesting breakdown of players that have been paid the closest to their actual value over their careers (starting around 1:12:00). Depending on where you set the thresholds, there are a lot of Red Sox on the list.
  • Old friend Allen Craig is very close once you raise the thresholds beyond basic minimums
  • Both Tazawa and DiceK also grade out very favorably (but I don't think include the posting fees)
  • Prince Fielder leads the mega-contract category
The methodology used is pretty simple: total contract earnings over a full career compared against their Fangraphs value ($/WAR). You can perhaps quibble with any of the components used, but I think it really points out how just how much surplus value accrues to the teams in those early years - both Craig and Fielder accrued most of their value early in their careers, so the back end of their FA deals were a bust, but for what we still think of as "bad" contracts they wound up being paid fairly over the course of their careers. Think of a player like Pujols, who still wound up producing a good deal of surplus value over the course of his career. It also turns out that Japanese players who come over and skip right to FA contracts, tend to be paid very fairly...

So it shouldn't really be a surprise that players aren't really willing to then give back even more of their value in the form of a hometown discount to a super-rich baseball team that has been paying them peanuts compared to their worth for years.

Just looking at Devers by this methodology, FG has him as putting up $102.9 M in his first 5 seasons and the Sox have paid him less than $18M for his time in Boston.

If we're rooting for JWH to win the payroll efficiency award, then the cost of that is going to be watching homegrown players leave, because the back end of these deals aren't usually great, but there's really no way to argue that these deals should be hampering the team's ability to spend and field a competitive team. To those taking the "we'll be fine" approach that the Sox will just come up with a way to replace Devers, I would point out the state of the rotation this season. There aren't always enough good players to do around, so I think it behooves a team to take advantage of an exclusive negotiating window when they have it.
I'm on a train so someone please ping me to come back to this, but TLDR is if they used FA $/WAR to evaluate the value of career production then their methodology was fundamentally broken because FA $/WAR only holds true to a specific spectrum of wins, and if you include pre-arb or arb then the entire system collapses. I wrote my thesis in economics on this topic.
 

Minneapolis Millers

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I was just throwing out numbers for the sake of argument. Personally, I'm with Lou Merloni's tweet from last week thinking that something in the 8/200 neighborhood, with an opt-out after 5 years, is where the Red Sox are ultimately going to land. I'd go as far as 8/220 (5/130 before the opt-out, 3/90 after). If he's asking for 10-12 at 300-360M+, that would put them nine figures apart with both sides coming out fairly reasonable, especially if Devers eventually gets that 10/300+ deal in free agency.
This is about where I’m at as well. If he wants to be here, then give him a chance to do that reasonably, even for just 3-4 years, with an opt out to allow him to seek more money later at a still young age (while still guaranteeing long term security). He only loses 1-2 FA years. But given that they did this with X, I suspect they’ve tried it with Raffy, too, and it hasn’t worked.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I suspect that the 8/200 or 8/220 is around their offer as compared to a 10/320 or 11/340 type counter for the nine figure difference. I dont think even 8/220 is materially different offer from 6/180 for a 27 to be FA. Realistically Devers projects as a 4.5-5 win player in his prime - at $9M/win thats $45-50M a year - its pretty reasonable to say that just ages 27 to 31 should be in the $220M range. Devers should rightfully be asking for $300M+. A reasonable middle ground seems like something in the 8/250 or 9/275 range. 8/200 just wont get any significant traction.
The thing with the 8 year structure with the opt-out is that it wouldn't be that dissimilar to Bogaerts' current deal. That was a six year extension with an option year added to his existing one-year deal. So effectively an eight year deal with an opt-out after four, just in time for his age 30 season. My thought (and Merloni's) was the opt-out after five years would give Devers the option of being a free agent at age 30 as well.

Something to keep in mind with the eight year offer is that it's buying out two years of arbitration: the current $11M he's getting plus $18-20M for next year. Figuring $30M a year after that is how I arrived at 220. Any calculus that is based on him getting paid $40M+ per year for his age 27-31 seasons is insanity. I get what you're saying looking at it as some sort of baseline, but it's an entirely unrealistic stance. As unrealistic as thinking he's going to sign for $20M AAV or less (call it a hypothetical low-ball offer).
 

mikcou

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The thing with the 8 year structure with the opt-out is that it wouldn't be that dissimilar to Bogaerts' current deal. That was a six year extension with an option year added to his existing one-year deal. So effectively an eight year deal with an opt-out after four, just in time for his age 30 season. My thought (and Merloni's) was the opt-out after five years would give Devers the option of being a free agent at age 30 as well.

Something to keep in mind with the eight year offer is that it's buying out two years of arbitration: the current $11M he's getting plus $18-20M for next year. Figuring $30M a year after that is how I arrived at 220. Any calculus that is based on him getting paid $40M+ per year for his age 27-31 seasons is insanity. I get what you're saying looking at it as some sort of baseline, but it's an entirely unrealistic stance. As unrealistic as thinking he's going to sign for $20M AAV or less (call it a hypothetical low-ball offer).
He's not going to get $40M a year AAV. It was part of my response to JA, but these deals get spread out over longer terms to get the total amounts right. If the team were to pay him a free agent deal of 10/300 for 2024 through 2033 (ages 27 through 36), thats ostensibly $30M a year, but more realistically the team is valuing the first five years at $40M a year and the last five at $20M a year with likely peaks around $50M and the tail end valued at <$10M. It is just a way for Devers to think through his ask as different time frames have very different expected production and accompanying values - the shorter the length, the higher the AAV is going to get. I dont think that is unrealistic at all that Devers value from ages 27 to 31 is in the $200M range - take a look at what Corey Seager got - do you think the Rangers are expecting Seager to be worth $30M when he's 38? Or that hes going to

Seager is an awful bet for a number of reasons (mostly because he hasnt put together a good full season together in like 5 years, but also because hes too old for a 10 year deal), but no team is going into these deals thinking the player is going to be worth the AAV on the back end. You model (or in the Rangers case take a massive leap of misguided faith) than the first half of the deal is good enough that at the end you at worst paid the market rate for the production. The Yankees offer to Judge might be a better example 7/215 for his age 31-37 seasons. Statically, players are not good at 35+, they're hoping that hes worth $160-$170M from 31-34 and then squeeze out some value on the back end - they're not expecting him to be a 3+ win player at 36 and 37.

I wasnt thinking that the offer would have included this year - they already agreed to a deal with him before making the offer - i dont see why they would rip it up rather than tack it on, but agree that if they were ripping up this year the AAV and total contract value would be lower.
 

OCD SS

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I'm on a train so someone please ping me to come back to this, but TLDR is if they used FA $/WAR to evaluate the value of career production then their methodology was fundamentally broken because FA $/WAR only holds true to a specific spectrum of wins, and if you include pre-arb or arb then the entire system collapses. I wrote my thesis in economics on this topic.
if you listen to the section are you able to explain how it break down as they describe it? It would be very interesting to hear this idea explained for the economic layman.

For me what this explains is pretty simple (and really more of a point about the economics of the game): the deck is so stacked against players being paid their actual value, that even what we see as the worst contracts out there have still been break even propositions for the monopoly that is MLB. I don’t think anyone here doesn’t really understand how contracts work, and how a bad one can hamstring the team, but I think it’s very important to acknowledge that when we talk about what’s a “fair offer” to a player, especially a star level player, they are viewing it within an already unfair offer for the past 6-7 years. This may be forced on teams to a certain extent by the monopoly rules, revenue sharing, etc, but we also have to acknowledge that when a team like the Red Sox can’t “afford” to keep their homegrown stars, something has gone wrong, and it is going to impact the growth and popularity of the sport long term.

I'm rooting for the Red Sox to win baseball games and championships. Emphasis on the plural. To do that over the course of years requires some financial discipline, because bad (too much money for too long) contracts kill teams in this Cap era.
I hated seeing Mookie go, but I completely understand not paying him $30M a year for 12 years. Even as the cap number rises, $30M is still 1/8 of $240M. You still have to pay 25 other players.
Circling back to this, bad contracts and not enough flexibility do not necessarily kill teams, but not having good players certainly does. Teams can manage bad contracts if the player can preform: Manny was the quintessential bad contract that the Sox tried to dump for years, right up until he wasn’t and he forced his way out of Boston to avoid having his option picked up.

Some players are always going to be paid more than others, and I don’t think you (or anyone) are suggesting an even per player split as a way to build a team. But it is interesting to note that for all the handwringing about Boston becoming Tampa Bay North under Bloom, and then the Story signing muting that narrative (“see, we can be Dodgers East!”), only paying players when they are young and more or less guaranteed to be good returns on investment and just finding the next guy to plug in, is very Tampa Bay. (And as a counter example, and hat is how our pitching staff is structured this season, and I haven’t seen a ton of excitement about it.)

Do the Cardinals regret not keeping Pujols for the back half of his career? No. Do the Tigers regret the Cabrera extension? Probably.
Players get hurt. Their skills fade. Why be on the hook for that for big money for many years?
Short answer: because we also bought their prime years at the same time.

we are not talking about Pujols contract with the Angels or Miggy’s last with the Tigers. Those are false equivalencies. We are talking about Pujols’ first big deal with the Cards buying out his arbitration, or maybe Miggy’s first extension. Those look like they worked out very well, and that’s what we’re trying to do with Devers, and have already successfully done with X. It should be more efficient to lock up your own players before they hit the open market; if the players don’t want to play ball, that’s their prerogative, but it would be a point of failure that it took this long with Devers to the point that he’s OK going to FA; the time to do this was years ago (just like what was done with Whitlock).

I'd hate to see Xander leave. I'd hate to see Devers leave. But I'd also hate to see the Red Sox be an also-ran team because they've got guys locked into bad contracts.
I find this to be histrionic and over the top. If you’re going to go with a “this is fine” approach, why does this only apply to not paying in the back end? What about fielding mediocrity on the current roster (ie Right Feild this year)?

An extension for Devers is not likely to even be an issue over the lifetime of this CBA. I think the players have tuned into the value of keeping the CBT thresholds escalating and the allowances on the back end of an extension should have the team covered.
 

Rovin Romine

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I find this to be histrionic and over the top.
Devil's in the details, but a team has to play or release a healthy meh player with a mega contract. There's also a limit to how competetetive a team can be while carrying several bad contracts and/or paying off former players.
 

Heating up in the bullpen

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I find this to be histrionic and over the top. If you’re going to go with a “this is fine” approach, why does this only apply to not paying in the back end? What about fielding mediocrity on the current roster (ie Right Feild this year)?
Re: the mediocrity of Right Field - I was really hoping Bloom would get Suzuki.
Re: histrionic - we've seen some terrible Red Sox teams in the past decade. A large portion of the blame for those terrible teams has been bad contracts. So I don't think that statement is histrionic, it's based on actual history.
The economics of paying baseball players is incredibly complicated. I'm glad I'm not the GM having to figure it out. As a fan of the game and as a worker, I certainly want the players collectively and individually to get a fair slice of the pie. As a fan of the Red Sox, I want my team to be able to field a winning team consistently. That said, the boom and bust Red Sox of the 21st century have won four titles, so maybe the occasional bad contract is the price to pay for winning big.
 

Rovin Romine

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we are not talking about Pujols contract with the Angels or Miggy’s last with the Tigers. Those are false equivalencies. We are talking about Pujols’ first big deal with the Cards buying out his arbitration, or maybe Miggy’s first extension.
For the curious here's the 2004 Pujols deal: https://www.espn.com/mlb/news/story?id=1738364

And here are his stats: https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/p/pujolal01.shtml

2001 (age 21), OPS+ of 157, bWAR 6.6
2002, 151, 5.5
2003, 187, 8.7

I love Devers, but he's just nowhere near that category. Which is the point.