Boston Red Sox payroll nuances will dictate 2020 season
By Rick McNair
The Boston Red Sox will now face a new age of fiscal restraint or will they? Management of payroll will now be the offseason discussion driver.
Life revolves around the harried chase for green, as in our currency. With our computer systems, it is now less the physical attachment to a simple slip of paper and more of an attachment to figures flowing between computer servers. The Red Sox now have their biggest offseason migraine and that is money.
The machinations regarding the season are meaningless since now the focus will be how to scrape by under the Luxury Tax (LT). The gauntlet has now been tossed down by principal owner John Henry to have some cost control put in place. This will mean a weaning off the usual expectations of Red Sox Nation for a flashy free agent signing or a series of overly generous contracts that will be crushing to maintain LT sensibility.
The term rock and hard place become synonymous to this task as the Red Sox have $153 Million to dispense to players already under contract. That leaves limited resources to those comfortably lining up at the payroll trough. The Red Sox to maintain Henry’s dictum will make unnerving decisions.
In the emotional world of baseball fandom with special emphasis on the Red Sox money is simply a tool that Henry and the team are rolling in. We collectively pay a high price to attend games and advertising money, cable money, and ancillary investments have made the franchise wealthy, but that is no excuse for running a team like the national government with tossing fiduciary responsibility to the fiscal winds.
More from Red Sox News
- Red Sox Nation deserves far more from Fenway Sports Group
- Bizarre trade deadline comes back to haunt Red Sox after Nathan Eovaldi departure
- Red Sox’ Moneyball-style offseason continues with Corey Kluber contract
- Rich Hill’s Red Sox departure puts him within striking distance of unique MLB record
- Red Sox offseason takes another nasty hit with Nathan Eovaldi departure
As a long-time baseball and Red Sox fan I have to accept the reality of a more parsimonious approach. As much as I admire Mookie Betts, the price tag is far too high and Betts will be foolish not to maximize his earning potential. Expect Betts to be shopped this offseason.
The pricey rotation is unmovable at this juncture with only Eduardo Rodriguez baseball affordable. David Price, Chris Sale, and Nathan Eovaldi have glaring question marks regarding their ability to take the mound injury-free. No one – even the most intoxicated GM at the winter meetings – would take on such burdensome contracts.
The potential big savings is J.D. Martinez, who is listed as a premier hitter that produces runs and batting average. Martinez opting-out would be a financial blessing and allow a nice reduction of about $24 Million. But the Red Sox focus will also be on the small ticket and that certainly makes any player who is in arbitration or free agency potentially expendable.
The Red Sox roster will not change dramatically for 2020 since the pitching rotation is in place thanks to extended and questionable contracts. What you will witness is a baseball schism with several high-priced players supported by a cast of low prices players. What will unfold is just how stable the high-priced players – most notably the rotation – and how successful the low-end performs. The era of Sam Travis et al has begun!