Rafael Devers only knew Xander Bogaerts as a teammate for the first six years of his career. He will have a new shortstop next to him as he begins his seventh MLB season.
Bogaerts signed an 11-year, $280 million contract with the San Diego Padres on Wednesday, prompting him to say goodbye to Devers on his Instagram story.
“Thank you for teaching me so much,” he wrote, as translated by Google. “I will always admire you as a person and as a baller, as the best. You are a role model.”
The loss of the player Devers often referred to as his “brother” could affect the third baseman’s scheduled free agency after the 2023 season. Devers will likely follow in his friend’s footsteps and cash in – the only question is will it be in Boston?
“People look at Xander as a player,” Devers told Audacy’s Steve Perrault in July. “I look at him not as a player, but as a friend. As my brother.
“He is very important to me for my career. He’s the guy I go to when I have questions about what I’m doing on the field. Offense. Defense. But it’s the same with JD (Martinez). “He’s a big part of my success and these two guys mean a lot to my career and are my best friends.”
Devers was one of several players and fans who focused on the departure of the Red Sox’s rookie star. Utilityman Enrique Hernandez posted a photo of Bogaerts and the song “Baby Come Back” to his Instagram Story. In the second story, Hernandez simply posted a sad facial expression.
With Bogaerts out, it’s unclear what the Red Sox’s solution at shortstop is. Dansby Swanson and Carlos Correa are the two big names still without a home for the 2023 season. If president of baseball operations Chaim Bloom and Red Sox ownership don’t want to pay Bogaerts, that leaves a lot of questions — namely, would they be willing to do it for another big-name free agent, and what kind of message are they sending? Devers over the next year.