Red Sox are faced with a quandary to exceed the luxury tax or hold
The Red Sox season will not terminate with a championship without the expenditure of blood and treasure. Both are intricately entwined. The blood is prospect blood and treasure is the financial clout that is needed to address personnel issues. The playoffs are attainable but the next level – a World Series – will require a corporate philosophical shift.
Fanciful trades and acquisitions have been mentioned and I am certainly part of that. There will be no Trea Turner, Adam Frazier, or Max Scherzer coming to Boston unless management pivots off what has been their template with Chaim Bloom.
Baseball is a numbers game, both metrics and traditional, but the driver of the numbers for this season is $1.9 million. That is the Red Sox space available before the specter of the Luxury Tax takes hold. The Red Sox apparently will maintain that corporate objective.
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Without expanding payroll, a Scherzer will not be in Boston. A sure-fire addition capable of solidifying an often creaky and inconsistent rotation. Others of quality could also be in the pool on both position and pitching.
A Yacksel Rios is just another version of sloppy seconds or thirds. Rios is nothing more than another toss against the wall and see if it sticks.
If the Red Sox management does move in that direction, expect prospect blood to be the cost. This is what Bloom has done with Mookie Betts as a prime example. A reverse with Boston trading the unknown (and cheap) for the known (and expensive.) Personally, I cannot see the Red Sox suddenly shifting to stifle a farm system they have been arduously attempting to resuscitate. To get “name” players Boston’s cost would be prospects as others trim payroll.
For conjecture, just what could be accomplished with cash tossed to the winds? Would Boston navigate the rocky shoals of trading a Xander Bogaerts and relieving themselves of the opt-out drama? Bogaerts could bring both payroll relief and prospects allowing Bloom’s adventurism in the trade market. Damn the LT and go-forward attitude. A blend of buying and selling. Bizarre, but this is baseball. Highly unlikely to dump Bogaerts or other gold.
If you were the GM of a team that has a management directive to slash payroll just what would you seek from a trade partner? Apply that same to the potential of losing a player to free agency. I would start with culling as many of the top tiers as possible. The GMs of Cincinnati, the Nationals, or any potential sellers are not in the business to assist the Red Sox. Someone may acquire a Jeff Bagwell.
There are many scenarios that can be pure hot stove conjecture only in the summer. That, however, is all meaningless as Boston appears to be holding the line. Expect the rotation to continue to stumble, the leadoff spot to be a canker sore, the team speed to be sloth-like, and the defense to be as solid as a block of ice in the noontime Sahara.
The frustration is being spoiled. In days of the past, the Red Sox would be fiscal heavyweights and spend to fill porous holes in the lineup or on the bump. This season has been either a pleasant surprise or a shock. A team that had .500 written all over it. That has put management in a bind. Do they finally break the mold they have set?
Fan and media pressure is present and especially on social media. This will be worth watching if the Red Sox team does not crumble. That road will be costly and it will be paved with prospect blood and treasure.