What Red Sox Chris Sale trade means for Teoscar Hernández, Snell, Montgomery pursuits

How much money does Boston have to spend, exactly?

World Series - Texas Rangers v Arizona Diamondbacks - Game Five
World Series - Texas Rangers v Arizona Diamondbacks - Game Five / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

What level of "throttling" is this, exactly. Full? Partial? Certainly, the Red Sox moved closer to having themselves an impressive offseason this weekend, and they did so very quickly, signing Lucas Giolito on Friday night and trading Chris Sale to Atlanta for Vaughn Grissom on Saturday afternoon.

Giolito, who will make $18 million in 2024 with a $1 million buyout at the end of the season if he triggers his opt out, all but guarantees 30 starts and represents an intriguing target for Andrew Bailey (and Craig Breslow) to work with. Most importantly, though, that lump sum of money is a significant risk if Boston doesn't intend to continue spending -- and a solid indicator that they just might, considering the whole puzzle fits together a lot better if they flex their muscles after assembling it.

Boston got more cash for their coffers on Saturday, adding six years of control on a former top-100 middle infield prospect in Grisham, and sending $17 million Atlanta's way in order to clear $10.5 million of Sale's 2024 money.

All offseason long, it's been theorized in clubhouse corners that they might be willing to offload Kenley Jansen, their most expensive reliever with one year remaining on his deal, and a luxury while the team is in the middle of a retool. Perhaps Sale was the flight risk all along -- though perhaps Boston entertains both moves? After all, they haven't exactly created the room for an entire New, Expensive Player just yet.

Red Sox clear $10.5 million of salary for Jordan Montgomery, Blake Snell in Chris Sale trade?

The Red Sox aren't miles further below the luxury tax threshold than they were on Friday -- or, at least, it's not like getting off $10.5 million allows them to seamlessly slide the AAV of, say, Jordan Montgomery or Blake Snell onto their books. Boston had about $28 million of wiggle room to work with after the Giolito deal. Now, it's just over $38 million.

Last we heard, they were battling it out with the Angels in a staring contest to see who was willing to offer Teoscar Hernández four years and clinch the deal. Getting rid of Sale's 2024 money allows them to up the AAV, but shouldn't make much difference in terms of clearing a pathway for long-term commitments.

It seems far more likely that the money saved here will go back into the rotation, either in allowing Boston to up their per-year offer into Montgomery's desired range or -- if they feel like being the Red Sox again -- paying the slightly higher price for Snell and banking on stuff over longevity. They already got Giolito for durability, after all. Can ~$35 million get Boston Hernández and Montgomery? Snell and Yariel Rodriguez?

Don't be surprised if the rotation still adds two more new names after Sale's departure: Montgomery/Snell and a top name like Jesus Luzardo, acquired in exchange for an outfielder (Ceddanne Rafaela/Jarren Duran) and Nick Yorke.