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I’m Not Afraid Anymore!

Well, maybe a little bit. But much less than I was before!

Boston Red Sox v Kansas City Royals Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Since the moment Spring Training 2021 ended and neither Xander Bogaerts nor Rafael Devers were extended, one emotion has dominated my mind as a Red Sox fan: fear. I have been afraid. Afraid of what’s coming next. Half of that fear came to be realized when Bogaerts signed his monstrous 11-year, $280,000,000 contract with the San Diego Padres during the Winter Meetings.

San Diego Padres Introduce Xander Bogaerts Photo by Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images

After the dust settled on Bogaerts, all that was left to fear was what would happen with Rafael Devers. And, quite frankly I was expecting the worst. At no point since the final out of the 2018 World Series have I been convinced this team had any real vision or endgame. The trade of Mookie Betts and the handling of Xander Bogaerts were the two biggest gaffes, but there were tons of smaller things as well. I was preparing for and expecting the worst regarding Devers. Then, it happened.

Was it John Henry being boo’d at his own ballpark during the Winter Classic? Was it a response to Bogaerts leaving? Was it the plan all along? Who cares! The Red Sox have finally extended a homegrown star, and Rafael Devers will be in Boston until 2033, and I’m not afraid anymore!

I can breathe now! Obviously, it is a tremendous relief that a franchise cornerstone is now locked in for more than a decade, but it’s what this deal means beyond just Devers himself that is so important. It seems like, for the first time since Chaim Bloom walked through the doors of Fenway Park, there is a real plan.

Boston Red Sox Introduce New Outfielder Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

I can see the vision now. The only three post-arbitration players the Red Sox will be paying in 2025 are Rafael Devers, Garrett Whitlock, and Masataka Yoshida. The prospect pool is solid and the sun is shining. I get it now!

I won’t lie to all of you: I was dreading the 2023 season. I could not deal with the impending doom I’d feel every time Rafael Devers mashed a baseball into the bullpens. I simply could not do it. Now, that feeling’s gone! I’m excited to see him do that!

Are the Boston Red Sox going to be great in 2023? No. Are they even going to be good? Maybe? But what they definitely won’t be, is a waste of time. The building blocks are beginning to come clear.

Texas Rangers v Boston Red Sox Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images

This year we’ll see if Triston Casas and Brayan Bello are real pieces to build around. We might get a look at some other prospects like Bryan Mata or Cedanne Rafaela. We’re going to learn if Garrett Whitlock can be a top half of the rotation starter. The Rafael Devers extension has set the next era of the Red Sox into motion. I’m excited, and I think you should be too.