The Red Sox and Rafael Devers made it official Wednesday, formally announcing the third baseman’s 10-year, $313.5 million extension that will take him through the 2033 season.
The deal comes with optimism that the franchise, despite its sour offseason, is trending in a promising direction with Devers as its centerpiece.
“This is a very long-term commitment,” chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said at a Fenway Park news conference. “And when you’re making this type of commitment, first and foremost, it’s about the player you’re entering it with.
“But beyond that, the way these commitments tend to go, you’re making a bet over a long period of time. Generally speaking, you want to really be well-positioned and back that bet up, especially on the front end of that deal.”
The commitment between the sides came into focus during a meeting in the Dominican Republic in mid-December. Bloom, Red Sox president Sam Kennedy, assistant general manager Eddie Romero, manager Alex Cora, and principal owner John Henry flew to Santo Domingo to meet with Devers. It was there that the Sox intimated to Devers that they would offer him a $300 million deal.
Cora knew what type of offer would be on the table prior to landing.
“I went there just to hear somebody say that we’re going to offer him this money,” Cora said. “I told [Cora’s partner] Angelica, ‘I want to be at that table when somebody tells another person that you’re going to make $300 million.’ ”
Devers’s agents, led by Nelson Montes de Oca, hashed out the details with Bloom over the holidays. In the end, the Red Sox and Devers both got what they envisioned.
Henry (who also owns the Globe) was not present at the news conference, but Sox chairman Tom Werner noted that Henry played a key role in the deal.
“When they came down to the Dominican Republic, it was a good time,” Devers said. “We had a great conversation down there. My thought process was that they wouldn’t come all the way to the Dominican Republic for no reason. So I had a lot of confidence that it was going to happen, and Nelson reassured me, as well.”
Devers’s résumé certainly reassured the Sox that he was their guy. In 689 games for the Red Sox since 2017, Devers, 26, has a career slash line of .283/.342/.512 with an .854 OPS and 139 homers. His 333 extra-base hits are a franchise best for a player 25 or younger, while his 139 homers at that age rank second in club history to Tony Conigliaro (160). Devers’s 264 extra-base hits since the start of 2019 lead the majors.
“I’ve always had a sense that everyone here understands the amount of passion and work that I put towards the game,” said Devers. “And I felt that that alone was enough to give you that confidence that something was going to get done.”
Cora said Wednesday was a day to celebrate.
“It’s a great day for the organization and for everybody that has been part of it,” said the manager, “but it’s a great day for the kid.”
The deal, though, does not change much for the team on the field. The Red Sox had Devers locked up this year even before the extension, as he was in his last year of arbitration.
The Red Sox, as currently constructed, do not appear likely to compete in the American League East. The recent news of Trevor Story missing at least part of the season after undergoing right elbow surgery does not help their chances.
It will take a lot to alter the minds of a rabid fan base whose team has seen homegrown stars leave in the last few years. The Sox know Wednesday won’t be enough for fans to forgive the missteps. Only winning can heal those sores.
What the Sox do hope is that the long-term deal with Devers will lead to the road of long-term sustainability that has eluded them just four years removed from being baseball’s best.
“Raffy fits perfectly into what we’re building and we’re going to keep building,” Bloom said.