This is the first good news of the offseason. An $80 million gap, spread over 10 or 12 years, should eventually be bridged, and it marks a milestone of sorts for the front office, since it's the first time the Red Sox have publicly crept within $100 million of a superstar player's asking price under Chaim Bloom, post-Mookie Betts.
While a final deal with Devers will probably fall a lot closer to $300 million than $220 million -- the pressure on the Red Sox not to lose another homegrown star gives Devers considerable leverage -- the willingness of the Red Sox finally to acknowledge market realities is encouraging. Put another way, their current offer might not be enough to get it done, which they have to know, but it's legitimate. That's called progress.
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The sooner they deal with Devers, the better positioned they'll be to get on with the rest of their offseason, since it's hard to imagine they're going to spend more on anyone else. Fans should accept that Devers will be the big-ticket item of the winter, with maybe one other nine-figure contract to play with and then a series of $10 million deals that are Bloom's specialty.
Signing Devers would lessen the blow of potentially losing shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who's part of a crowded free agent class and could draw interest from big spenders like the Phillies or even Yankees. Or maybe the Red Sox shock us and retain Bogaerts and Devers as a 1-2 punch, although that then leaves them in the uncomfortable position of using most of their resources to basically run back last year's last-place team, especially if they re-sign right-hander Nathan Eovaldi, too.
Either way, let's take this movement in negotiations for what it is -- actual good news. The Red Sox have repeatedly acknowledged they botched the Betts situation, and they're more than halfway to ensuring they don't make the same mistake with Devers.