Red Sox Have Lots Of Cash To Spend
Posted by Mike on December 3, 2008
From Sean McAdam:
When the Red Sox contingent arrives in Las Vegas this weekend for the start of baseball’s annual winter meetings, its members may not have money to burn, but they do seem to have money to spend.
As the offseason trading and signing season commences, the Sox are committed to $79.25 million for nine players in existing, guaranteed deals and an additional $17.195 million in estimated salaries for another 12 players – four of whom are eligible for salary arbitration. That brings the running total to approximately $96.445 million for 21 players and doesn’t include salary for a starting catcher, a utility infielder, a backup first baseman and a fourth outfielder.
While the Sox are facing significant salary increases for the likes of Kevin Youkilis, who might come close to doubling his 2008 salary, in all, the club has the potential to take more than $50 million off their payroll. Should the Sox re-sign Varitek, he would cost approximately the same $10 million he earned last season. Add another $5 million for the three bench players the Sox need to pick up and the projected payroll for 2009 would be $111.5 million, still far below the $133 million figure for 2008.
Could the Sox afford a big free agent splurge, like first baseman Mark Teixeira? Sure. In fact, assuming Teixeira gets a deal which would begin with annual salary around $22 million-$23 million, the Sox could sign him and still go into next season with a lower payroll than last year.
Taking the exercise a step farther, could the Sox sign a free agent starter? Possibly, but only if the organization greenlights a 2009 payroll in excess of last year’s figure. It’s possible that two such signings could put the Sox near, or over, MLB’s luxury tax threshold, which next year sits at $162 million.
The free agent pitchers in whom the Sox have shown the most interest – A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe – are likely to command a minimum of $15 million for next season. Bundled with Teixeira, and even allowing for Lowell’s number coming (mostly) off the books, signing a big-ticket starter would take the Sox over $141 million.