'He's our star': Devers committed to future of Red Sox

January 11th, 2023

BOSTON -- Moments before Wednesday’s press conference introducing ’ contract extension began, a stream of Red Sox employees flooded into the State Street Pavilion at Fenway Park.

On the TV screens throughout the room was a list of dozens of names -- people in the Red Sox organization who have helped play a part in Devers’ career. A testament to the type of player and person Devers is, and his significance to the city.

Devers, who has been with Boston since he signed as an international free agent at the age of 16 in 2013, became the face of the franchise after inking a 10-year contract extension. The club didn't announce the terms of the deal, but a source told MLB.com's Mark Feinsand that it's for $331 million over 11 years, including the $17.5 million deal for the 2023 season.

“It’s a great day for us, a great day for the organization … But it’s a great day for Raffy,” said manager Alex Cora, who wasn’t seated on the dais but was in attendance. “He’s been in every camp, he’s been in every instructional league. He took every step throughout the organization and now he’s the main guy here.”

With the extension, Devers became the highest-paid player in Red Sox history in terms of total value.

"Nothing changes. I just want to be the same guy that I've always been: Someone who has fun, someone who enjoys the game, who's approachable," Devers said via a translator. "A lot of times my teammates ask me questions and I'm happy to answer, but I never want to feel like I'm above the team or something that's larger than what I see that I am."

With Devers set to reach free agency at the end of 2023, the Red Sox made it clear at the end of the ‘22 season that signing their star third baseman to a long-term deal was a top priority this offseason -- an offseason that has been somewhat of a roller-coaster for Boston.

After the Winter Meetings, the Red Sox lost to the Padres via free agency. They added bullpen depth in , and closer . Their rotation changed with the departure of and the addition of . They lost a designated hitter in and added a bat in . And then on Tuesday, it was announced that Trevor Story underwent right elbow surgery and will miss a significant amount of time in 2023.

A bright spot for Boston amid that turnover, Devers’ signing was months in the making. Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said that the front office began making proposals to Devers and his camp before the postseason had ended. But it wasn’t until a mid-December trip to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic -- attended by owner John Henry, president and CEO Sam Kennedy, executive vice president and assistant general manager Eddie Romero and Bloom -- that talks started to intensify.

By New Year’s Eve, the two sides had reached a breakthrough.

“We have always wanted to make a long-term extension with Raffy,” Red Sox chairman Tom Werner said. “We think he’s one of the great players in baseball, we think his best years are even ahead of him because he’s [26 years old]. We’d been discussing various proposals from [Devers’ agent] Nelson [Montes de Oca] and [REP1 Baseball CEO] Chris [Koras] for months, and this was something that was obviously an urgent priority. We did not want Raffy to become a free agent next year.”

Devers, a two-time All-Star, has received a share of AL MVP Award votes in each of the last three full MLB seasons. He's averaging 32 homers, 105 RBIs and 44 doubles per season over those three years (excluding the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign). No player has more extra-base hits since 2019 than Devers' 264.

“He’s not just a star. He’s our star,” Bloom said. “It’s a wonderful thing to retain a homegrown player, who loves Boston and who Boston and Red Sox nation loves back.”

Though his latest deal will pay him approximately $330 million more than the $1.5 million signing bonus he received nearly a decade ago, Devers said he will never let his contract security impact the way he plays the game.

"That will never happen. I love what I do. I'm happy to play here. That hunger won't subside," Devers said. "It'll be maintained because I just love playing baseball, and I love doing it here."