The winter spending spree across Major League Baseball slowed a bit as the calendar turned from 2022 to 2023. Many big-name free agents had already found new teams, such as Trea Turner, Carlos Correa, and Xander Bogaerts, all of whom inked contracts worth at least $280 million (though thanks to some medical issues, Correa’s status is still up in the air). Other players, including Aaron Judge and Brandon Nimmo, took big deals from their current teams to stay put.
The Boston Red Sox finished last in the AL East and had largely made modest signings, avoiding big splashes. But they couldn’t resist—or, rather, they need a rising star to help get them out of the cellar—and offered third baseman Rafael Devers an 11-year, $331 million contract.
It’s the longest deal the Red Sox have offered a player and also has the largest guarantee. And it’s an MLB record, too — no third baseman has ever signed a deal this large.
Previously, David Price held the honors for the highest Red Sox contract, signing a seven-year, $217 million deal in 2015. Price didn’t finish out that contract in Boston, so the team hopes this deal with Devers has a better ending.
Earlier in the week, Devers had signed a one-year, $17.5 million contract to avoid arbitration. This long-term deal will override the shorter one. And it’s a move the Red Sox had to make since they had let Bogaerts walk after the team didn’t put forth a competitive offer.
The 26-year-old Devers will be the face of the franchise as the team looks to return to glory. After breaking an 86-year curse with a World Series victory in 2004, the Red Sox won again in 2007, 2013, and 2018. Though Boston reached the ALCS in 2021, it has missed the playoffs every other year since that last title.
Expectations were low for nearly a century at Fenway Park. But winning has a way of getting hopes up. It’s Devers’ job now to make the dreams of Red Sox fans come true.