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  1. #1
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    How do you save $30M?

    "That said, John made ic clear that there is a goal to try to get under the CBT in 2020. But he also said, and Tom followed up and clarified, that that is a goal but not a mandate.:

    The Red Sox, whose payroll was around $240 million in 2019, face a difficult task in getting below the CBT next season. They have significant money coming off the books as some players depart for free agency, but Xander Bogaerts and Chris Sale are due raises with contract extensions that begin next season. There also are heavy raises in arbitration-eligible salaries due for some players, including Mookie Betts, who should make around $30 million next season.

    J.D. Martinez also is unlikely to opt out of his contract that would pay him over $23 million next season, and the club is continuing to pursue a long-term extension with Betts.
    - Boston Herald

    So there's the situation. The Red Sox have a goal of getting under the CBT for 2020 and about $30M to shave from payroll. Despite some hefty dead-weight contracts coming off the books (hello, Pablo Sandoval), the salary increases across the roster are likely to erode their net benefit to almost zero.

    Note: All values are in the AAV salary value used for calculating the CBT, not the actual dollar value due in any particular contract year.

    Expiring contracts: $62.2M
    Rick Porcello ($20.625M AAV)
    Pablo Sandoval ($18.45M)
    Mitch Moreland ($6.5M)
    Steve Pearce ($6.25M)
    Eduardo Nunez ($5M)
    Brock Holt ($3.575M)
    Tyler Thornburg ($1.75M)

    Salary increases: $19.1M
    Chris Sale $10.6M
    Xander Bogaerts $8M
    Player benefits $0.5M

    Player options: $8.5M
    Andrew Cashner $8.5M (Note: net payment by Sox in 2019 was 1.5M; 2020 option for $10M)

    Arbitration projections: $12.25M+?
    I'll update this as projections are posted in the next week or so.
    Mookie Betts $30M ($10M)
    Jackie Bradley $10.5M (2M)
    Sandy Leon $2.75M (0.25M)
    Eduardo Rodriguez
    Matt Barnes
    Steven Wright
    Heath Hembree
    Brandon Workman
    Gorkys Hernandez
    Andrew Benintendi

    Net savings (before arbitration adjustments): $22.4M

    The Red Sox could very easily decide that Andrew Cashner's 5+ ERA is not worth an additional $8.5M. There have been some rumors that they like Tanner Houck's progress a lot and that discussion surfacing at the end of the season may not be entirely coincidence. Without long ties to Fenway, he's low-hanging fruit that could be replaced from within.

    The Red Sox need to talk Dustin Pedroia into retirement. Forget sentimental reasons to keep the dirt dog around or any crazy idea that he will come back a force: since the Sox bowed out of the 2017 playoffs in the first round, Pedroia has a total of 34 MLB plate appearances. With all respect due for his abilities, 2020 will be a season of reacclimation (at best) heading into his final contract season. Maybe let him be the infield instructor but get him off the roster.

    Uncertain is the situation with JD Martinez. Even with lower-than-anticipated megacontracts last offseason, a WAR in the 2.0-2.5 range could approximate the $22M AAV that Martinez signed for in the spring of 2018. He's clearly demonstrated that his phenomenal 2017 season wasn't a fluke and it's not out of the question that he opts-out given the market. The hitters available this winter with a WAR above 2 are Yasmani Grandal (option), Anthony Rizzo (option), Anthony Rendon, Josh Donaldson, Mike Moustakas (option), Brett Gardner, Marcell Ozuna, Starling Marte, Adam Eaton, Nelson Cruz (option), and Edwin Encarnacion (option). Martinez is younger than Cruz and Encarnacion by at least five years. Grandal, Rendon, and Donaldson might be the closest competition on the market but they do not compete in terms of where they play. I think that the FA market contraction has most people suggesting that JDM will stay in Boston but I won't be surprised to see Boras read that competition as an invitation to at least get similar value ($22M AAV) for a longer period than the three years he has remaining. After all, it's no accident that he negotiated opt-outs the year after the big FA class from last year and into this (and next year's) market.

    How would you go about cutting payroll while also fielding a competitive team in 2020?

  2. #2
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    Seriously, no thoughts at all?

    Scenario 1: Trade Mookie
    Not the most palatable option but Betts is pretty steadfast about going to the FA market after next year. The risk is pretty large that you lose him with only a compensatory draft pick coming back. There are no big contracts coming off the books (unless you count JBJ money), so the finances are going to be difficult unless you are willing to guy it out a couple years while Price's deal expires. Trade Betts this offseason and get some cost-effective pieces back... and you might still compete for his services over the 2020-21 offseason.

    Scenario 2: Let JD Martinez walk
    Despite nice sounding words from Sam Kennedy, this has always seemed like a best-case scenario for the Red Sox. They get two prime years from Martinez without being overly exposed in the OF, Boras gets to market him as "more than a DH," and the young Sox hitters get to learn the art of a professional PA from one of the best in his prime. With the emergence of Devers as a complete hitter and Bogaerts harnessing the power that he flashed earlier, the Sox may be able to absorb his loss without falling too far. No, the offense won't be as good, but it may still be one of the better in the game. They Sox can make a token effort but refusing to sign a 20M+ DH with a back that doesn't appear to be aging well is a great way to save short term money.

    Scenario 3: Trade JBJ and Price
    JBJ's defense is other worldly. Probably the best defensive CF that the Sox have had since Tris Speaker more or less invented the position. But the Sox don't really seem inclined to keep him so why not maximize his value now? On the other end of the spectrum, there's Price. Teammates love him but he seems to get nasty with others when his season isn't going well... and it's not gone well more often than it's been good. You'd have to eat some salary but this is about clearing payroll so okay.

    All the scenarios have problems. The first and last require some shopping unless you're prepared for up-and-coming OF Jarren Duran to make the AA-to-MLB jump (if he's only replacing JBJ's streaky bat this might be okay). Each of them gets the Red Sox in the neighborhood of saving $25-30M but more will be needed if they're going to entertain a traditional closer again (please!) and let Barnes be deployed as a BP ace without worry about also closing. If you've got Pedroia on speed dial then retiring his $13.75M AAV contract along with his balky knee might be an even swap on the back end RP.
    Last edited by RedSoxtober; 10-07-2019 at 07:47 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    3,395
    Quote Originally Posted by RedSoxtober View Post
    Seriously, no thoughts at all?

    Scenario 1: Trade Mookie
    Not the most palatable option but Betts is pretty steadfast about going to the FA market after next year. The risk is pretty large that you lose him with only a compensatory draft pick coming back. There are no big contracts coming off the books (unless you count JBJ money), so the finances are going to be difficult unless you are willing to guy it out a couple years while Price's deal expires. Trade Betts this offseason and get some cost-effective pieces back... and you might still compete for his services over the 2020-21 offseason.

    Scenario 2: Let JD Martinez walk
    Despite nice sounding words from Sam Kennedy, this has always seemed like a best-case scenario for the Red Sox. They get two prime years from Martinez without being overly exposed in the OF, Boras gets to market him as "more than a DH," and the young Sox hitters get to learn the art of a professional PA from one of the best in his prime. With the emergence of Devers as a complete hitter and Bogaerts harnessing the power that he flashed earlier, the Sox may be able to absorb his loss without falling too far. No, the offense won't be as good, but it may still be one of the better in the game. They Sox can make a token effort but refusing to sign a 20M+ DH with a back that doesn't appear to be aging well is a great way to save short term money.

    Scenario 3: Trade JBJ and Price
    JBJ's defense is other worldly. Probably the best defensive CF that the Sox have had since Tris Speaker more or less invented the position. But the Sox don't really seem inclined to keep him so why not maximize his value now? On the other end of the spectrum, there's Price. Teammates love him but he seems to get nasty with others when his season isn't going well... and it's not gone well more often than it's been good. You'd have to eat some salary but this is about clearing payroll so okay.

    All the scenarios have problems. The first and last require some shopping unless you're prepared for up-and-coming OF Jarren Duran to make the AA-to-MLB jump (if he's only replacing JBJ's streaky bat this might be okay). Each of them gets the Red Sox in the neighborhood of saving $25-30M but more will be needed if they're going to entertain a traditional closer again (please!) and let Barnes be deployed as a BP ace without worry about also closing. If you've got Pedroia on speed dial then retiring his $13.75M AAV contract along with his balky knee might be an even swap on the back end RP.
    I really like Mookie. I saw report they offered Betts 8/$200MM and rejected it. You know he's looking for deal like Trout. The FO said they want to cut payroll. Now they could let JDM opt out and keep Betts but that wouldn't be cutting payroll. They would still be well over the threshold. I would say scenario's 1 and 2. If we can get big pieces for Betts I would be happy. Now JDM let him walk and slide Cheves to DH. Won't be anywhere near what JDM did. But he does have a great bat. If healthy could put up good numbers. Just my opinion.

  4. #4
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    Isn't the $200M/8yr offer old news? I mean that they offered it a couple of years ago or so. Betts is definitely taking the same business like approach that the FO takes and I don't blame him for it. He's been neck-and-neck with Trout in terms of value so I understand why he'd be looking for that kind of deal... "just business." I don't dislike him for it one bit. It does result in a pretty significant risk for the Red Sox, though.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
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    I like the idea of using JBJ to get off of a SP. but my vote is Eovaldi not Price. I hate to say it. But it may also be time to maximize on Christian Vazquez value and trade him away to get off another bad contract. Which if cashner has a 10 million player option of course he is gonna take it.

    So my scenarios would be trade JBJ and Eovaldi together and trade Vazquez and Cashner together for almost nothing. That alone saves around 40 million.


    Also let all FA walk except maybe Holt if we can get him on a cheap AAV. Look for “Rays” type replacements. Chavis/ Duran can man the 3rd outfield position. Mookie can play CF.
    Last edited by Soxtober040713; 11-05-2019 at 07:30 PM.

  6. #6
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    Sorry, the way that I wrote that was misleading. I should have said "players with options." The Sox have an option for 2020 that would have become guaranteed at 340IP over 2018-19 and become a player option at 360IP. He was on a pace to hit the first escalator but his poor performance after the acquisition left him well short of that (303IP). I believe that the option was part of the calculus for acquiring him from the Orioles but $10M for what he offered to the Sox does not seem likely to be picked up.

    I wouldn't have wanted to move Vazquez to get rid of Cashner anyway. There's no real depth behind Vazquez to absorb his loss. Leon is too much of a detraction at the plate to be the lead catcher in a rotation.

    Eovaldi might be easier to move in a trade like the one that you're describing. I don't think that the Red Sox could move Price without absorbing some of the contract. I've not been a fan of Price -- I didn't want the Sox to sign him as a FA, he's spent the majority of two of the last three seasons NOT pitching, and he's been pretty surly when he's not on the mound. Maybe he's great in the clubhouse and a jerk outside but I don't like the Kyrie-style leadership that he appears to bring. All that said, a trade of Eovaldi might net the same payroll savings as an Eovaldi trade.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
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    Oh I don’t want to trade Vazquez per say he is relatively cheap. BUT with that being said 1.) his value is never gonna be higher than it is right now. After hitting 23 HR with a .276 average. 2.) it would have been the only way to get off of Cashner if he did have a straight up player option. 3.) Bloom seems to lean towards a “catcher by committee” approach anyway.

    I’ve been back and forth on the thought of going complete tear down. JBJ, Sale, Evo, Vazquez, JDM, Mookie, ALL gone. But can’t fully commit to one side of the other.

  8. #8
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    It's definitely not time for a full teardown. The team suffers primarily from being too heavy on top-end salaries but there's still quite a bit of talent there... and some that's around on the cheap. You can build around that if you do it the right way.

    Someone noted that no team until the Nationals has won the WS with a single player earning more than 20% of the team's payroll. That observation fits with my long held question about whether it's worth paying any single player $30M+ with a CBT threshold of $210M. Those big money contracts typically also carry a long term and rarely work out. Maybe I am simply rationalizing what I feel is inevitable with Mookie but I can see life without him being more competitive in the long term. He's an incredible talent but if he's looking for a contract like Trout then he could be the best player on a fringe playoff team no matter where he goes.

    Going back to the Mets (I think PPM mentioned them), what about dealing Betts for Seth Lugo and Andres Giminez? If you're not familiar, Lugo is a RP and Giminez is a top 50 prospect (SS). The return may not seem overwhelming but there's a lot of talk along the lines of what I've said above: no one wants to shell out big money AND prospects. That said, sending Mookie to Flushing for those two gives the Red Sox an increasingly reliable RP (Lugo has seen an uptick in velocity that led to stronger results) and a well-regarded middle IF prospect who's gotten some work at 2B lately. He just wrapped a decent AA campaign and could be the actual opening day 2B when the Pedroia dream vaporizes, which would leave Chavis to play a Holt-like role. They're not necessarily a contender in 2020 but they would have both players for 2021 when they'd be better positioned for the FA market.

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