Triston Casas, viewed as a future cornerstone at first base in Boston, spoke to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford this weekend and expressed an openness to discussing a long-term contract extension with the Red Sox. Alas, those talks have not actually gotten underway in any form …
“No. None whatsoever,” Casas told Bradford. “I haven’t thought about it. Nobody has approached me about it. And my representatives have never even mentioned it to [Red Sox GM Chaim Bloom] or anyone in the front office. I’m just focused on playing this year and we’ll see where it goes. It it happens, it happens. I would love to stay in Boston the rest of my life. I love the city in the little taste I’ve got of it. I don’t know anywhere else and I don’t want to. We’ll see what happens in a couple of years. Hopefully we get something done, but if we don’t we’ll go from there.”
The idea here would be to secure Casas through all of his pre-arbitration and arbitration-eligible years and to likely also buy out at least a couple seasons of free agency. Bradford makes note of the “flurry of deals of seven-or-more years” that the Braves have pulled off with the likes of Spencer Strider, Michael Harris, Austin Riley, Ozzie Albies, and Ronald Acuna Jr.
Many of those extensions were — and are — viewed as extremely team-friendly around the industry. And there’s not a natural comparison between any of them and what the Red Sox might be looking to do with Casas. He has appeared in only 27 major league games up to this point and will still carry rookie status into the 2023 campaign. Albies, for example, signed his bargain seven-year, $35MM pact with Atlanta in April 2019, having already logged more than 215 games at baseball’s highest level. Ke’Bryan Hayes, the Pirates’ long-term hope at third base, inked an eight-year, $70MM pact with Pittsburgh last April, exactly 120 games into his MLB career.
Casas flashed good power in his initial taste of big league action down the stretch in 2022, clubbing five home runs with a .766 OPS over 95 plate appearances. Granted, his batting average came in at just .197. Before his promotion on September 4, the 23-year-old consensus top-35 prospect registered a .273/.382/.481 batting line in 317 plate appearances at Triple-A Worcester.
Maybe something can get going on the extension front when Casas arrives at Red Sox camp in the spring. Or the wait could be quite a bit longer than that. But the goal is to ensure that he does not slip away from the organization like Xander Bogaerts did or build up the kind of negotiating power of a Rafael Devers, who commanded ten years, $313.5MM in new money from the Sox earlier this month.