Boston Red Sox Offseason Goal: Postseason or payroll?

With the Red Sox seemingly prioritizing getting rid of payroll in trades, such as Sale or Betts, we have to wonder if making the postseason is the priority.

There have been many reports this week that indicate the Boston Red Sox are putting free agency on the back-burner and instead opting to engage in the trade market. If the Red Sox are expressing more of an interest in cutting payroll, does that mean that making the postseason is not the most important thing in the front office?

If you asked members of the Boston front office if the number one priority is cutting payroll or getting back to the postseason in 2020, you’d likely get a mixed answer. A response would probably be one stating that the Red Sox have a great young core that they will try to re-construct the supporting cast of players.

I wrote an article on Saturday that stated that the Red Sox are unlikely to make a move without the assurance of payroll being trimmed. If no trade partners emerge as willing to take on the contracts of Chris Sale, David Price, Nathan Eovaldi, or Mookie Betts, then the Red Sox may not see any reinforcements in this 2019-2020 offseason.

If that scenario happens and no one relieves a starter (or Mookie) off Boston’s payroll, then the 2020 season will have to be dedicated to getting under the luxury tax threshold. If the Red Sox are unable to upgrade this winter due to salary constraints, there is a good chance they’ll be out of contention come July. At that point, they may be forced into trading players that are at their highest value (if Sale is pitching decent, he’s gone) or perform a salary dump trade like packaging Price with Rafael Devers.

While the Red Sox still have a promising young core to build around, that does not seem to be the goal of the front office. Rather trade the players who make too much money and use the payroll saved to supplement the core a few years down the line.

Next: Trade pitchers, not Betts

Either way, it seems like Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom was reeled into Boston simply to help relieve John Henry of paying the luxury tax. If that is the case, then get excited for 2020 where the goal is not to make the postseason, but something more exciting – trading our best players because they make too much money!