View Full Version : 2017 Payroll

11-07-2016, 10:26 AM
Right now, the Red Sox have roughly $136 million in guaranteed commitments to players as calculated for luxury tax purposes (which use average annual values of the life of a contract, rather than a single year). However, Craig and Castillo are not part of that calculation so long as they are not on the 40-man roster. They’ll nonetheless cost the team an additional $24 million in paychecks.

On top of that, the Sox have eight players who, as of right now, appear likely to open the year on the big league roster who are arbitration-eligible. Based on the projections of MLBTradeRumors.com, that group will account for roughly another $23 million.

Add to those projections pre-arbitration-eligible players like Mookie Betts, Travis Shaw, and Eduardo Rodriguez, and then tack on another $10 million or so for in-season moves and an additional $13.5 million for the contribution that every team must make to MLB’s medical benefits pool, and the present commitments start to near what the Sox spent in 2016.

Already, the team’s payroll as calculated for luxury tax purposes is close to the $189 million mark that served as the threshold for the start of penalties in 2016. Meanwhile, the actual cash projected payroll – thanks to Castillo ($10.5 million in 2017) and Craig ($11 million) – is already close to $210 million.


That balance, however, is interesting to ponder. The Red Sox’ commitments outlined above, after all, don’t include whatever the team spends to add a bat following Ortiz’s retirement, or to add a bullpen arm or two.

What if, for instance, the Red Sox want to make a run at Edwin Encarnacion, a long-term deal in excess of $20 million a year? Unless they want to push their 2017 payroll well beyond its 2016 levels, they’d likely need to trade a contract as something of an offset. There would certainly be a market for Buchholz at a relatively affordable one-year, $13.5 million salary. The team could also get more creative and examine whether a team would take on the remaining two years (with a vesting option for a third) of Hanley Ramirez’s salary or if, in a poor market for third basemen beyond Justin Turner , a team might take on half of the remaining obligation to Pablo Sandoval to create payroll space.

But unlike a year ago, when the Red Sox took on significant payroll (more than $45 million to Price, Kimbrel, and Chris Young, with a modest offset from trading Wade Miley), Sox additions to address their holes this winter may come with a requirement for some subtraction – even assuming that the team plans to maintain something close to, or even beyond, their team-record expenditures on major league payroll in 2016.Speier