Rafael Devers lobbies Boston Red Sox front office for roster help

Tue, Feb 20, 2024
MLB News (AP)

Rafael Devers lobbies Boston Red Sox front office for roster help

Rafael Devers is looking for some help - from the front office of the Boston Red Sox.

With the Red Sox ramping up at the start of spring training, Devers made it clear Tuesday that he felt the franchise should have done more to improve the roster over the winter.

"They need to make an adjustment to help us players to be in a better position to win," he said through a translator. "Everybody in this organization wants to win. We, as (players), want to win. I think they need to make an adjustment to help us win.

"I'm not saying that the team is not OK right now, but they need to be conscious of what are the (weaknesses) and what we need."

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Devers batted .271 with 33 homers and 100 RBIs in 153 games last year, but Boston finished last in the loaded AL East with a 78-84 record. The 27-year-old third baseman finalized a 10-year contract with the Red Sox in January 2023 that is worth $313.5 million.

The Red Sox were mostly quiet over the winter. They signed right-hander Lucas Giolito to a $38.5 million, two-year contract, and acquired outfielder Tyler O'Neill and infielder Vaughn Grissom in a pair of trades. But they also shipped outfielder Alex Verdugo to the New York Yankees, and parted with lefty Chris Sale in the deal with Atlanta that brought in Grissom.

Boston ranked sixth in the majors last year with a .258 team batting average, and its OPS of .748 was ninth. But it had a 4.52 team ERA, ranking 21st in the majors.

"Everybody knows what we need," Devers said. "You know what we need, and they know what we need. It's just there's some things that I can't say out loud. But everybody that knows the organization and knows the game knows what we need."

AILING

Cincinnati Reds infielder Matt McLain is dealing with an oblique injury at the start of camp. An MRI came back clean, but manager David Bell said McLain isn't going to do anything for five days.

"He's going to be fine, but we just need to be patient for a week," Bell said.

The 24-year-old McLain missed the end of last year with a strained right oblique, but Bell said this injury is in a slightly different area.

McLain, a first-round pick in the 2021 amateur draft, is expected to begin the season as the starting second baseman for Cincinnati. He batted .290 with 16 homers, 50 RBIs and 14 steals in 89 games in 2023 in his first stint in the majors.

LOOKING FORWARD

The Toronto Blue Jays made the playoffs in three of the last four seasons. But they were swept in their AL Wild Card Series each time.

Toronto scored just one run while dropping two playoff games at Minnesota in October.

Asked about his message to his team ahead of its first full-squad workout of spring training, Blue Jays manager John Schneider said the focus is on this season.

"Worrying about ways to win, you know, that was kind of the overall message," he said. "I think if you're prepared and you're prepared to win as a group every single night, everything else kind of takes care of itself."

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AP freelance reporters Ken Powtak and Mark Didtler in Florida contributed to this report.

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