As extension talks continue, Red Sox, Devers settle on '23 salary

January 3rd, 2023

BOSTON -- Reaching a long-term extension with Rafael Devers has long been a goal for Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom. While it hasn’t come to fruition yet, the Sox announced on Tuesday that they’ve avoided arbitration with their star third baseman by agreeing with him on a one-year contract for 2023.

The deal is worth $17.5 million, a source told’s Mark Feinsand.

More important, the Red Sox, according to sources, are expected to continue negotiating with their left-handed-hitting slugger on a multiyear extension that would prevent Devers from reaching free agency after the 2023 season.

After losing longtime leader and shortstop Xander Bogaerts via free agency last month to the Padres, the Red Sox can ill afford to have another homegrown All-Star slip away.

In February of 2020, the Sox traded Mookie Betts to the Dodgers, though that was more of a calculated decision based on several years of unsuccessful negotiations with the five-tool star.

Devers and oft-injured ace Chris Sale are the only star players who remain from the 2018 juggernaut that won the World Series. Relievers Matt Barnes and Ryan Brasier are the other players who remain from that squad.

The Red Sox will have a new look to their team next season, as former core members Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez (Dodgers), Nathan Eovaldi (Rangers) and Christian Vázquez (Twins) have all moved on.

In their quest to emerge from a last-place finish in the American League East, Boston’s 2023 lineup will be anchored by Devers, Trevor Story, Japanese rookie Masataka Yoshida and Justin Turner, the veteran free agent who recently agreed to terms on a one-year deal with a player option that is still pending a physical. Kiké Hernández and Alex Verdugo are expected to be other key pieces in manager Alex Cora’s lineup for next season.

Rookie first baseman Triston Casas hopes to hit the ground running after getting a month of at-bats at the end of last season. It is still unclear who will be the starting catcher. Story will either play second base or short, making it likely the Red Sox will acquire one more middle-infield bat to replace Bogaerts. With the free-agent market mostly dried up, Boston’s path toward roster upgrades the rest of the winter is likely to be trades.

The one thing that is for certain is that the 26-year-old Devers will be at the centerpiece of what the Red Sox do offensively in 2023 and years beyond that if the sides are successful in negotiating an extension.

Devers has been an All-Star the past two seasons. While 2022 was trending to be a career-best season for Devers, he fell off down the stretch while playing on an ailing right hamstring.

Though Devers never used the injury as an excuse, Cora acknowledged at the Winter Meetings in December that his third baseman was impacted by essentially hitting on one good leg.

Devers still managed to slash .295/.358/.521 with 42 doubles, 27 homers and 88 RBIs.

The Red Sox summoned the 20-year-old Devers to the Major Leagues in the middle of the 2017 pennant race and he’s basically been raking ever since. In 689 career games, Devers has a line of .283/.342/.512 with 139 homers and 455 RBIs.