As of noon Friday, the Red Sox can make transactions again. Exciting to be sure, but nobody was expecting a flurry of press conference announcements at 12:01 p.m.
But there are two items on the to-do list Chaim Bloom and Co. should be prioritizing when it comes to making moves: Extensions for Rafael Devers and Eduardo Rodriguez.
Unlike so many things in our world, this is the right thing at the right time.
Go back to 2006. Josh Beckett was struggling with an ERA of close to 5.00 heading into July when then-manager Terry Francona walked out and asked the pitcher if he would be interested in signing an extension. The Red Sox were reading the room correctly. Leveraging the present to form a strategy for the future. Beckett signed his extension, potentially costing himself around $60 million after he bypassed becoming a free agent following his superb 2007 campaign.
The Red Sox were planning on making it a priority to engage Devers after the 2019 season, with his service time and production lining up almost perfectly with Alex Bregman, who the Astros locked up on a five-year, $100 million extension that was agreed upon before last season but kicked in this year. As is, the Red Sox third baseman will be eligible for arbitration for the first time this coming offseason.
Rodriguez will be eligible for free agency after next season, having made a fairly powerful case for being a top-of-the-rotation pitcher that should be counted on for years to come.
So, what route would the two go? Before the pandemic, it would have been a safe bet that each player would likely go the route of Mookie Betts or Jackie Bradley Jr., betting on themselves all the way to free agency. But times have changed.
The prevailing thought that the financial windfall both players would get down the line might not be what they anticipated before baseball's economic downturn. How exactly is this step back when it comes to revenue going to impact salaries going forward is anybody's guess. But it should certainly make players look at potential extensions in a different light.
And as is the case for any extension, the team's motivation is to add certainty while potentially saving some money down the road. That hasn't changed. If you want to build a foundation while managing costs, trying to get out ahead of the curve with guys like Devers and Rodriguez is the way to go.
It's time to start thinking about these sorts of things again. And that in itself is a win for everyone.