Manny Ramirez has been there and done that, testing the open market and landing a major payday with the Red Sox en route to becoming a rock star in Boston during the early 2000s.
So, while it’s not totally apples to apples, it is interesting to hear how Ramirez believes current Red Sox stars Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers should approach their possible trips to MLB free agency.
In short, as explained this week by The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey, Ramirez thinks Bogaerts and Devers must consider all variables — not just the financial aspect of their looming career decisions.
“Their careers are short,” Ramirez said, according to McCaffrey. “All you’ve got to think: How much money do you really need to be happy? Where do you want to be? I bet you (Albert) Pujols, when St. Louis offered him less than Anaheim, I bet you if he would have known what was going to happen, he would have stayed and taken less money in St. Louis than going to Anaheim.”
Bogaerts, who signed a six-year, $120 million extension with Boston in 2019, can opt out of his deal this offseason, a strong possibility given his excellent performance and the likelihood of him receiving a generous contract in free agency. The shortstop turns 30 in October.
Devers, meanwhile, is eligible for free agency after the 2023 season. So, the Red Sox don’t necessarily need to negotiate a new deal with him right away, but it might be in their best interest to kick the tires on an extension sooner rather than later. The third baseman, who turns 26 in October, has blossomed into a franchise cornerstone since entering the league in 2017.
Again, Ramirez didn’t exactly walk a mile in their shoes. And vice versa. The Red Sox Hall of Famer spent eight seasons in Cleveland to begin his career before signing with Boston as a free agent before the 2001 campaign. But he knows the free agency process, superstardom on the diamond and what baseball life is like outside of Boston. Thus, his advice is worth keeping in mind.
“Everything is going to come down … how much money do you need? They’re great players,” Ramirez said, per McCaffrey. “Everybody knows every cent you get paid. Whatever we do, all we have to do is support them and respect their choices because it’s a business.”
Business has been great with Bogaerts and Devers in town, with the former contributing to two World Series titles and the latter helping the Red Sox win their most recent championship in 2018. For the time being, the left side of Boston’s infield remains in good hands.