Friday marks the deadline for the Red Sox and Rafael Devers to exchange arbitration figures, and the date marks the start of the international signing period.
If Devers and the Sox don’t agree to terms, the sides will head to an arbitration hearing. This is Devers’s first year of arbitration, meaning he’ll become a free agent after the 2023 season if the sides can’t agree to a long-term extension. Devers struggled defensively at third base last season, committing an MLB-high 14 errors in the pandemic-shortened season of 60 games. He scuffled at the plate to start the year, batting just .182 through his first 83 plate appearances .
Devers regained his stroke and hit .303 over his final 37 games, finishing the season slashing .263/.310/.483. He shared the team’s home run lead (11) with Xander Bogaerts. Some of Devers’s struggles could be attributed to a left ankle injury he suffered in early August. He also showed up to summer camp out of shape in Boston after the global pandemic put a stop to spring training in mid-March.
Nevertheless, the Sox still view the 24-year-old Devers as a talented player who can be a cornerstone player at third base. According to reports, Devers is projected to command as much as $6.3 million for 2021. Whatever the final number is, it may provide a glimpse of what Devers’s future is with the franchise.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox’ hope heading into the international signing period is that they can find a player like Devers, whom they signed out of the Dominican Republic for $1.5 million when he was 16 years old.
Miguel Bleis, this year’s headliner, also hails from the Dominican Republic. At 6 feet 2 inches and 170 pounds, Bleis is an athletic outfielder who, according to Baseball America, is in line to receive a bonus ranging from $1.5 million to $2 million. Baseball America rates him as one of the best athletes in the class with a quick bat and easy strides in the outfield.
The Sox also are expected to take switch-hitting shortstop Luis Ravelo for a bonus of about $500,000, per Baseball America.
Righthander Alvaro Mejias from Venezuela also is expected to sign with the Red Sox.