Rafael Devers could be next on Red Sox chopping block in offseason of disaster


Tomase: Bogaerts is out the door, and Devers soon could follow originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Rafael Devers posted an Instagram tribute to former teammate Xander Bogaerts on Thursday, and it ended on an ominous note: "You're an example to follow."

The news that the Red Sox lost Bogaerts to the Padres for 11 years and $280 million made for one hell of an early-morning surprise. It shook chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, who got the news before boarding a red-eye home to Boston. It shook Red Sox fans, who are outraged about the loss of another homegrown superstar whom management dragged its feet on paying.

And perhaps most importantly, it shook Devers, the only marquee player left on the roster who's in the midst of his own extension talks and could easily shut them down with a simple, "See you later."

Tomase: Red Sox will never live down botching of Bogaerts situation

Nothing happens in a vacuum in a baseball clubhouse, and every step between insulting Bogaerts in April and losing him early Thursday morning has registered with Devers, a player supremely confident in his value and supremely disinterested in acknowledging the idea of a hometown discount. He worships Bogaerts and heard the same empty platitudes about the Red Sox making him their No. 1 priority.

We charitably called that spin. Devers could very well see it as a lie.

And so the front office must now measure the likelihood that Devers has no intention of re-signing, for any amount of money, which means their follow-up to botching Bogaerts will be putting Devers on the trade market before he, too, walks away.

The missteps that led to this point are staggering. The Red Sox dithered on offering Devers an extension, missing the window when he might've taken it. They've operated in complete denial of the market, finally making him an offer of $200 million this fall that now appears to be too small by half. They barely exceeded the luxury tax in a futile attempt to take a broken, demoralized team to the playoffs, costing them spending power this year and next.

And most importantly, they sent continued signals that they're not committed to compensating Devers or building a competitive team around him. It's not a good sign when mediocrities like Zack Eflin and Andrew Heaney reject the Red Sox in favor of the Rays and Rangers, respectively. Why should a superstar like Devers with his pick of markets act any differently?

Bloom can talk all he wants about sustainability, but not at the exclusion of today. The Red Sox simply aren't very good, and there's no reason for Devers to sign long-term when he knows there will be more money on the open market next fall.

Bogaerts is proof. The Boston Globe reported that the Red Sox only offered him six years and $160 million, a laughable offer in a market that included multiple bids over $200 million. The kneejerk reaction in the wake of Bogaerts' stunning departure was to say that Devers has the Red Sox over a barrel, but that implies he has any interest in remaining with an organization that traded popular catcher Christian Vazquez in the middle of a pennant race, and then allowed the franchise linchpin to depart in free agency.

Devers has eyes. He knows exactly what's going on. And when he says that Bogaerts is an example to follow, you can't help but wonder if he means right out the door.


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