The Winter Meetings are rolling in beautiful San Diego this week with storylines that have been dominated primarily by Gerrit Cole, who undoubtedly will land a deal, unlike anything we’ve ever seen in the MLB. But of course, if you pay any remote attention to the Boston Red Sox, you already know the main topic at hand. This team is looking to get underneath the luxury tax threshold of $208 million.
In early November, Red Sox President and CEO, Sam Kennedy, alerted the media of this goal which immediately triggered panic among the fanbase surrounding the futures of the team’s free agents and perhaps even more importantly, Mookie Betts.
The overarching belief on social media appeared to be that the team will do almost anything to reach that limit, and that fear wasn’t quelled when the team brought in Chaim Bloom to now be their Chief Baseball Officer. Bloom was coming from the Tampa Bay Rays who don’t exactly have the same financial means as Boston. But even with this disadvantage, Tampa Bay frequently put out what was at least a competitive product. And because of that, it became pretty apparent that Red Sox ownership was very serious in their quest to dip below the threshold.
With the idea in mind that the Red Sox will do just about anything to lower payroll, the concern was there that they would indeed sacrifice the team’s chances at winning in order to do so. But Red Sox General Manager, Brian O’Halloran, told MLB Network Radio that regardless of these potential salary restrictions, “winning is number one”.
Another telling line that should encourage fans came right at the end of this two-minute clip. O’Halloran goes on to say, “Our owners made it clear that we would love to get under the CBT (Competitive Balance Tax) threshold if possible, that’s a goal of ours. But we’re not going to do it at the expense of not putting the team on the field that our fans deserve”.
With an American League East that’s so competitive, the Red Sox need to be incredibly careful in their offseason maneuvering if they do want to maintain the ability to compete for the division.
There have been reports per the Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham that the team is actively looking to deal Jackie Bradley Jr., who is projected to make $11 million this upcoming season. And doing so would help aid their payroll hinderance in a decently significant way.
Per Spotrac, the Red Sox total payroll stands at $211,946,428, which does make $208 million appear to be very realistic.