A 'what if' of contract possibilities for the 2023 Red Sox
By Rick McNair
Thoughtful planning for short- and long-term interests is necessary in both a personal and a business environment. The Boston Red Sox are certainly in the realm of business, the baseball business. Short term, we are soon to be exposed to the initial roster for the 2023 season, and that roster will sift depending upon circumstances.
If negativity is not your forte regarding the local nine, move on to the next potential story. I have already gone on record either as a fool or a seer that my favorite MLB team will take it all, but, as mentioned, thoughtful planning. As many have eloquently suggested, what happens if the wheels fall off? A voyage into the "what if?" realm for the 2023 Red Sox.
The Red Sox ownership and management are not court jesters hired to provide an emotional blanket for those of us invested in the team. They have planned diligently in their war room for all contingencies; failure is part of the schematic.
From my perspective, what skips out like shiny keys is money, as in Red Sox contracts. Every season buyers and sellers line up depending on success or failure. The Red Sox fiscal diet has resulted in moderate success, but for the contract conscious is Chris Sale and a staggering $25.5 million for 2023 and 2024.
Red Sox held and did not sell in 2022. This will not be repeated.
Rumors of Sale departing are not some new earth-rattling concept, and FansSided has mentioned it, as have numerous media sources. Sale would have to be healthy, performing with pitching competence, and finding a partner to assume the risk factors.
Two new recruits jump out, Justin Turner and Kenley Jansen. Jansen is pegged at $16 million for 2023-2024, and Turner at $21.7 million spread over two seasons—experienced veterans with a solid performance record. Certainly, potentially part of a fire sale if all goes asunder in 2023.
Chris Martin was signed to shore up a leaky bullpen, and that leak is on the books for two years at $15.5 million. Martin has value, especially if his "numbers" continue to mirror 2022.
Since signing his six-year deal at $140 million, Trevor Story has been cursed, and his selling value is nil until a recovery is noted. A market may exist if Story can return and demonstrate a healthy arm and bat.
Lastly, the one contract may cement Chaim Bloom in Red Sox history as the ultimate contract bonehead or true visionary. Rafael Devers isn't going anywhere, but the same was once said about Juan Soto.
With failure comes opportunity, and the Red Sox have a farm system that may be on the verge of supplying dividends. Salary dumps or, to use a more acceptable terminology -- "adjustments to payroll" -- provide that opportunity to see the future. Disaster may give fans a preview well before the September callups.
The other angle with that is what would the returns be on a fire sale? Bloom loves his prospect collection, Boston's target acquisition, money in the piggy bank, and a group of potentially talented and controllable prospects.
So much for the negativity, but that is the remnants of the Fellowship of The Miserable. Last season, Boston faced a similar condition and held and did not sell as J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, and Natan Eovladi surprisingly remained. That could be viewed as a strategic error and may not be repeated.
With the expansion of playoffs, a sour Red Sox team could remain deep into the schedule. Tough to time the market in finance and baseball.