Red Sox principal owner John Henry sets target for 2020 budget

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 09: John W. Henry, owner of Liverpool ahead of the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Norwich City at Anfield on August 09, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 09: John W. Henry, owner of Liverpool ahead of the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Norwich City at Anfield on August 09, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images) /

In 2019 the Boston Red Sox felt the sting of exceeding Luxury Tax threshold and ownership wants to get the budget back under control ahead of 2020.

Budgets are a key essential to everyday life. Whether you’re trying to save up for a vacation or pay down a loan. Making sure you have the right amount of money allocated to reach your goals is important. The Red Sox aren’t immune to budgeting and it looks like the funds are about to get slashed.

Boston had the highest payroll in the MLB this past season and all it got them was a third-place finish and a head start to the offseason. Per Spotrac, the Red Sox carried a $241M payroll for 2019 which also earned them a $12.6M penalty for exceeding the Luxury Tax threshold.

As we head into 2020, the threshold is set at $208M and per Christopher Smith of, Boston is already flirting with $218M. That’s with guaranteed raises and raises for arbitration-eligible players factored in.

We all knew that Boston was going to do their best to get the budget down, it’s just a matter of how. There will be some money coming off the books as several players are set to become free agents but that then leads to the problem of filling the gaps those departures creates. As much as the Red Sox want to get below the threshold and back in the good graces of the tax penalty, they’re going to have to spend.

The first move towards lowering the budget was the firing of president of baseball operations, Dave Dombrowski. During his career, Dombrowski has been known to spend in order to bring success to the organization. That’s why the Red Sox hired him and that’s exactly what he did. When his spending stopped delivering wins, he was shown the door despite Boston being just 10 months removed from winning the World Series.

So with the money man out of the picture, it’s clear the ownership team wants t take things in a new direction for the future. Today principal owner John Henry spoke at Fenway Park and laid some of the plans out for what the target budget is. He didn’t go too in-depth with a specific number but made it clear that getting below the $208M line is the goal.

"“This (coming) year we need to be under the CBT,” Henry said. “That was something we’ve known for more than a year now.”"

Again, he didn’t really say anything about the “how” that the Red Sox were going to use in order to get below the CBT. This leaves things kind of vague because as Chris pointed out, they’re already $10M above their target and the first threshold penalty kicks in at $228M. If the endgame here is to free up as much money as possible to make a run at Mookie Betts when he hits free agency then I’m all for it, but they can’t cripple the 2020 roster for one guy either.

Red Sox Nation is also waiting on pins and needles to see what the future of J.D. Martinez holds. If he chooses to opt-out of his contract then Boston can shave off another $20M but that would leave them without one of their best hitters.

More from Red Sox News

This would also force them to go shopping and essentially take the money they saved with the right hand and spend it with the left. It’s a great idea to want to get the budget below the threshold but it may not be possible. Now, nothing in this game is impossible but if Henry really wants to get things back under control then he’s going to have to find a GM that can penny-pinch.

* Cough – Billy Beane – Cough * 

Whoever gets the vacant position may also need to work the phones and get some trades worked out. This can also be a negative as the Sox don’t have the best talent pool as far as prospects are concerned so it’s going to be the big boys leaving town.

"“I don’t know the difference between are (calculations),” Henry said. “There are probably certain things that we can do that would create a problem. But there don’t seem to be any of those on the horizon at this point. As I said earlier, we’ve known about this for some time. So we’re able to plan ahead.”"

Henry referred to the fact that they’ve had this goal of getting below the threshold for several years and have plans to achieve said goal but then went and spent a ton of cash. The only way I can see the Red Sox getting below the $208M is if they sell the farm.

We saw how they reacted to how poorly this season has gone and things may only be getting worse. It sounds weird but Henry is giving off the vibe of going into a rebuild for 2020. I may be off-base with that sentiment but it’s the feeling I get.

Next. Sox have plenty to play for in final series of 2019. dark

We knew that having the highest payroll in the Majors and then completely shanking the season would lead to some big changes. Firing Dave Dombrowski was the first step by FSG to get the train back on track in their eyes and now it’s time to slash the budget. How they achieve their goal is a mystery to everyone but them. All I know is it’s going to take a magician of a GM to get below $208M and still field a contender.