Brewers third base target #4: Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox
This one is probably the most "pipe dream-y" of the four, but rumors are that Boston trading Rafael Devers is possible.
The Red Sox have been having a brutal offseason thus far, losing Xander Bogaerts and JD Martinez, and they look to be heading towards a bit of a rebuild. They failed to extend Bogaerts previously and their remaining superstar, Rafael Devers, is a year away from free agency himself.
Devers, 26, had a .295/.358/.521 slash line with 27 homers, a 141 OPS+, and a 4.9 fWAR in 2022. He's a career .283/.342/.512 hitter in six seasons. Devers can hit for both average and power and doesn't strike out a lot. He's the type of hitter that completely changes a lineup and would be a perfect fit on every team.
Devers is projected to earn $16.9MM in his final year of arbitration in 2023. He's going to hit the open market after that and command a contract in excess of $300MM. He's only 26 and is a stud on offense. He's going to get paid big time by someone. If the Red Sox aren't able to complete an extension with him, they could very well look to trade him this winter to get at least something back for him.
Whichever team trades for Devers, if it happens, is likely doing so and paying what will likely be a high prospect cost because they plan to sign Devers to a contract extension. The Brewers will not have the capability to sign Devers to the extension he desires. It'll be hard to justify trading away the prospects necessary to get Devers when you know he would only be in Milwaukee for one season.
That said, the Red Sox traded one year of Mookie Betts to the Dodgers for a package of prospects that haven't really panned out at all. They also traded away the final year of Andrew Benintendi for not much at all in return. Because Devers is in his final year, the prospect cost would not be as exorbitant as the trade for, say, Juan Soto was.
Devers wouldn't cost the Brewers Jackson Chourio or Sal Frelick, I'd imagine. If the Brewers can hold on to both of those guys and acquire Devers, even if only for one year, that would be worth it in my opinion. It would signal that this team is looking to win now and pushing their chips in for 2023.
It's not typically how the Brewers operate and knowing he'd leave in free agency may scare them away. But even so, they'd be able to give him the qualifying offer and recoup a high draft pick at the very least if they did this.
If Matt Arnold wants to signal that he's not just looking for a bite at the apple but he's looking to eat the whole apple and win it all, trading for Devers would be the move.