Tomase: What might a Devers extension look like after Tatis deal?


There's no Fernando Tatis Jr. in the Red Sox organization, a five-tool superstar in his early 20s worthy of a record $340 million extension.

But there's the next best thing, and his name is Rafael Devers.

The third baseman may need to improve defensively, and he may never steal bases, but the 24-year-old is a legitimate middle-of-the-order mauler who could one day hit 40 home runs and anchor a World Series-winning lineup.

There's considerable value in that, so it makes sense that the Red Sox and Devers would talk about a long-term extension that keeps him in Boston through his prime seasons.

Tomase: Do Red Sox have enough infield talent behind Devers, Bogaerts?

"I know where I stack up in terms of, I feel like I have the talent to be amongst that group of young players," Devers said via Zoom on Wednesday through translator Bryan Almonte. "I'm actually very happy for Tatis to be able to get that type of contract, but there's a lot of Latin guys, lot of American guys that are young and having success in this game, and I feel like I'm right there with them, because I've had good numbers and I just have to continue to produce, do what I can do and just control what I can control."

The Tatis contract opens a door for Devers. Whereas the typical extension for a player of his experience level buys out a couple of years of free agency for terms that tend to favor the team, Tatis showed it's possible to earn a mega-contract before sniffing free agency.

If Devers might've once judging himself against the eight-year, $100 million extension that Ronald Acuna Jr. signed with the Braves, now he can make a case for splitting the difference at $200 million.

Of course, both Tatis and Acuna are more rounded at more impactful positions, playing shortstop and center field, respectively. Acuna has 40-40 potential, while Tatis could easily put up 30-30 numbers. Devers, meanwhile, has led the American League in errors for three straight years.

"I know the type of talent that I have," Devers said. "Obviously, if people don't want to consider me in that group, that's for them to discuss. But me, I know what I can do in this game and I know what I've done, and I can only focus on that because I know that the defense is (an issue),  but at the same time, I'm always out there working and improving my game. I know where I belong and I know what I feel about myself and I feel like that's the most important part."

Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom indicated that the team is open to talking extensions with some of its younger players, without mentioning Devers by name.

"We've had some conversations internally," Bloom said. "I expect as we get into the spring, those conversations will pick up. I don't know what it will lead to, obviously. If and when they do pick up, it's not something we're going to speak publicly about unless there's something to report. But this is the time when a lot of those things often happen, so I would expect we'll at least have some conversations about it with some guys."

Devers and Eduardo Rodriguez are his mostly likely targets, though Devers, as a more easily projectable offensive player, should probably take precedence.

"Right now I'm just focused on getting ready for the season," Devers said. "Obviously, my reps will handle that, and when the time is right, we'll discuss it further. But right now, I'm just focused on what I'm doing here."

That didn't stop Devers from turning his Zoom call around on a questioner, however. After concluding a string of queries about his contract, he asked if the reporter believed Devers belonged on the list of young players worthy of a monster extension.

Yes, the reporter replied. We may soon find out if the Red Sox agree.

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