Bad contracts continue to haunt the Boston Red Sox.
The Boston Red Sox have collected four World Series titles this century and they have also collected something far less rewarding – dead money. Contracts for players the Red Sox were so desperate to get rid of they just released them and absorbed the loss or shuttled them off to the minors, and then there is the injury brigade. Where are they now? What was the cost? Just think of the impact on the luxury tax.
This list is just partial as others can be dredged up or ignored – at least temporarily – such as Chris Sale and his injury. Sale may join if in 2021 his arm turns to Jello. I’ll leave out several who certainly deserve entry such as Edgar Renteria, Bobby Jenks, Carl Crawford, and some of the mess from the previous century such as Matt Young, Matt Clement, and Jose Offerman.
There are also the breadcrumb players who get released – Tyler Thornburg, Carson Smith, Eduardo Nunez to name three who have an impact on payroll, but relatively minimal. Payroll information is available on Spotrac.
Rusney Castillo sits in the Player Pool as the last year of his seven-year and $72.5 MM evaporates. The Red Sox received a grand total of 99 games from Castillo and he would hit .262 in those games. Boston offered up Castillo to anyone – all you had to do was take the contract – please! No takers.
If Castillo was brought up to the majors, his salary would count against the luxury tax and that would be slightly over $14 MM. If Castillo was making a fraction of that amount he’d be in Boston or elsewhere and just maybe in 2021 when he’ll get a serious salary reduction. With a month left maybe the Red Sox will take a look?
When the Red Sox picked up Allen Craig from the Cardinals they also picked up Craig’s contract that eventually Boston paid him almost $30 MM to go rest in Pawtucket and eventually just go. The Red Sox were rolling the baseball dice hoping the one-time All-Star would again find that magic in his right-handed swing. Craig hit just .139 for Boston and was outrighted to the minors. Easily cleared waivers.
Craig was not done and after receiving his million-dollar buyout kiss he signed with the Padres. Eventually, Craig was released and moved into the Padres’ front office.
When Dustin Pedroia signed it was the smart move, but the second baseman then got the baseball curse of injuries and has not really recovered. Pedroia remains in a rehabilitation limbo. In 2018-2019 Pedroia collected $31 MM and the Red Sox collected nine games and a .097 average. For 2020, Pedroia receives an adjusted $4.76 MM and in 2021 it hops back up to $12 MM. Could Pedroia do a Gil Meche and walk away leaving money on the table? Meche walked out on $12 MM.
Feel the love the Red Sox have for David Price – so much that they are willing to pay half his contract to just go away. That will be $32 MM for 2021-2022 and zero for 2020 since Price took the COVID-19 opt-out. The Red Sox paid for an ace and ended up with a similar bind the Giants had with Barry Zito. What would that $32 MM get the Red Sox now?
If they paid Pablo Sandoval by the pound the Red Sox may have had a far better financial outcome. In the middle of the 2017 season, the Red Sox designated Panda and eventually, that meant Sandoval could re-up with another team. With the buyout and paying Sandoval to play for the Giants, the Red Sox watched $41 MM be tossed away. And Sandoval was not done putting his snout into the money feedbag as the Giants paid Sandoval MLB minimum on top of his Red Sox kiss.
The Red Sox are still paying Manny Ramirez. Manny is on the books for a tad over $2 MM and Manny will collect his tad through 2026. Every year on July 1st is Bobby Bonilla Day that will be celebrated through 2035. Bonilla gets yearly stipend from the Mets as deferred money at 8% interest. Could the Red Sox have a similar day for Manny?