Devers Vs. Machado: The Future vs The Rental

Getty Images/Jim McIsaac
Manny Machado is the catch of the trade deadline. We all know it. Whatever team gets Machado is ultimately all but guaranteed an upgrade at one infield position and The Atlantic’s Ken Rosenthal seems to think he might be "the best rental position player ever available at the deadline."

But, for the 2018 Red Sox he makes about as much sense as J.R. Smith being the new NBA official scorekeeper.

Don’t get me wrong, It’s obvious Machado is going to be a great grab for whatever team gets him. He is hitting .312 with a .971 OPS and 18 homers while buried in Baltimore’s terrible season. But if he comes to Boston, whose job is he going to take?

Of course the collective yell from Red Sox Nation is “DEVERS!” I think I even heard it from my window. But is removing him really the right move for the Boston Red Sox?

Admittedly, Rafael Devers is not having a great start to his sophomore season. With his .232 average, 9 homeruns, and dismal .688 OPS there is reason to question whether he should stay at 3rd.

But he is 21 years old (almost 22, we’re berating him right before his birthday!) and only in the first half of his 2nd season. Yes, his OPS is really low and yes, he has committed far too many errors but, he is a work in progress and displacing him would mean giving up on the future. The next in line at 3rd, minor leaguer Michael Chavis, was recently suspended for PEDs.

Charles Krupa/AP Photo
Devers needs to figure it out at the majo including yesterday against a Machado-less Orioles, and he needs those opportunities to continue to grow at the major league level. Sending him down to make way for a rental player is simply not the answer. He still comes up big at times.

Mind you, I haven’t even mentioned the money side of things. Devers earns $565k this year...Machado...28x that at 16 million.

And finally...all of this, Machado replacing Devers, would only happen if Machado actually relinquished the shortstop position, something he is probably unlikely to do given that he just moved back to his natural position this year.

And I doubt the Red Sox want to be moving Xander Bogaerts anywhere but short.

Speaking of Xander, his 2nd year playing at Fenway he was also 21 and a late season call up from the year before trying to prove his worth. In 2014 he hit .240 with 12 homers and had an OPS of .660 in 144 games. In 2015 he won the silver slugger.

I am not ready to give up on Devers yet. I can still remember a few years ago when The Red Sox were clamoring for an answer at the hot corner and there was no true solution. Rafael has potential and, for the first time, inspires hope at 3rd base in the post-panda era.

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