The 2023-24 offseason has largely been a miserable one for the Boston Red Sox and their fans. After limping to a last place finish in the American League East last season, the expectation was that they would make some big moves in free agency to beef up their roster. For the most part, though, they have stood pat, and everyone is unhappy, including star third baseman Rafael Devers.

Devers has been the one guy Boston's front office has spent big money on over the past two offseasons, as he was handed a ten-year, $313.5 million extension last year that locked him up with the team long-term. This seemed to be confirmation that Boston wanted to build around Devers, but instead, they've largely left him to fend for himself.

The 2024 campaign hasn't even started yet, but the vibes surrounding the Red Sox already aren't good thanks to the front office doing virtually nothing to improve the team this offseason. Yet with his most recent comments in which he took the team's ownership to bat, it's clear that Devers is becoming the leader Boston needs both on and off the field.

Rafael Devers is becoming an even more important figure for the Red Sox

Boston Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers (11) celebrates teammates after hitting a two run home run against the Toronto Blue Jays in the sixth inning at Rogers Centre
Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

There's never been any question how important Devers has been for the Red Sox when it comes to his on-field production. He's become one of the top slugging third basemen in the entire league, and he is going to be expected to continue raking for this team as their main source of production for years to come.

But in the locker room, the decision to extend Devers over both Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts, a pair of superstar hitters that Boston let go of, made a little bit less sense. Both guys seemed to have a bit more of a leadership role with Boston's clubhouse, whereas Devers had largely focused on growing and finding his way in the majors.

Even when he signed his extension last offseason, up until that point, Devers had largely taken a backseat to Betts, Bogaerts, and J.D. Martinez during his time with the team. By extending him, the spotlight was fully on Devers, both when it came to his production on the field, and how he led the team in the locker room.

This isn't a knock on Devers' leadership abilities, but we hadn't really seen him step up for the team in that manner until he fired some shots at the team's ownership and front office on Tuesday afternoon. In no uncertain terms, Devers made it clear that he knew the team didn't do enough this offseason, and that while he enjoys the group they have, he knows that the team needs more help.

Devers' criticisms perfectly outlined the feelings of the entire Boston region when it came to the front office's bizarre strategy. For whatever reason, ownership is forcing Craig Breslow to operate under a financial threshold, despite the fact the Red Sox have one of the biggest markets in the league. They have the money needed to go out and sign big name free agents, but they haven't been signing any free agents for that matter, which is why people are so frustrated.

The Red Sox are Devers' team, which was confirmed when they handed him his massive extension last offseason. So if there's someone who needs to stick up for the team when the ownership and front office aren't doing a good enough job, it's him. And he said what needed to be said as Spring Training draws near.

It's also worth noting that the front office still could go out and make moves before the season starts. Big name starters in Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery are just sitting on the market waiting to be signed, and they both would immediately come in and headline the Red Sox rotation. Could Devers' comments finally prompt the front office to go out and spend money?

Regardless of what Devers said, the front office is looking to keep their salary bill low while building up their farm system. It's a frustrating rebuild that isn't totally necessary, but even if Boston goes out and nabs another starting pitcher, chances are they will still finish in last place in a crowded AL East. At some point, though, this team has to focus on finding ways to get better.

Someone needs to hold the higher-ups accountable in Boston, and thankfully, it looks like Rafael Devers is going to be that guy for the team moving forward. It may not immediately lead to results, but if Devers continues to put pressure on the front office to make this team better, at some point, they are going to have to give in to keep their franchise player happy.