By Matt McCarthy, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Red Sox have made it clear that they want to get under the $208 million threshold in 2020 to reset their luxury tax penalties, a plan that means slashing over $30 million from the 2019 payroll.
That won’t be an easy or painless task.
The organization will have to make some tough decisions when it comes to the future of Mookie Betts, who is entering his final year before free agency, and J.D. Martinez, who can opt-out of his contract this offseason.
Here is where the Red Sox stand entering the offseason:
Current payroll projection: $218 million (as of 10/17)
Committed money: $133 million.
Arbitration estimates: $65 million.
Pre-arbitration estimates: $5 million.
Health benefits and other associated costs: $15 million
Committed money ($133 million):
The Red Sox enter 2020 with roughly $133 million committed to just seven players.
David Price ($31 million)
Chris Sale ($25.6 million)
J.D. Martinez ($22 million)***
Xander Bogaerts ($20 million)
Nathan Eovaldi ($17 million)
Dustin Pedroia ($13.75 million)
Christian Vazquez ($4.5 million)
***Martinez can opt out of his contract within five days of the conclusion of the World Series.
Arbitration estimates ($65 million)
Mookie Betts: $30 million (third year)
Jackie Bradley Jr.: $10.5 million (third year)
Eduardo Rodriguez: $7.5 million (second year)
Andrew Benintendi: $4.7 million (first year)
Brandon Workman: $3.3 million (third year)
Sandy Leon: $2.6 million (fourth year)
Matt Barnes: $2.5 million (second year)
Heath Hembree: $1.75 million (second year)
Steven Wright: $1.375 million (third year)
Marco Hernandez: $750,000 (first year)
Pre-arbitration salary estimates ($5 million)
Ryan Brasier, Colten Brewer, Michael Chavis, Rafael Devers, Darwinzon Hernandez, Brian Johnson, Josh Taylor, and Marcus Walden have all yet to hit salary arbitration. Their contracts will likely come in between $555,000 (the league minimum in 2019) and $1 million (Devers).
Freed up money ($62 million):
The Sox have nearly $62 million coming off the books entering 2020:
Rick Porcello ($20 million)
Pablo Sandoval ($19 million)
Mitch Moreland ($6.5 million)
Steve Pearce ($6.25 million)
Eduardo Nunez ($5 million)
Brock Holt ($3.5 million)
Tyler Thornburg ($1.75 million)
The Red Sox will almost assuredly replace nearly all of these players with cheaper, internal options.
So what’s next?
The first domino to fall will be Martinez’s opt-out decision, which will frame the approach the Red Sox will have to take in the coming months.
This tracker will be updated as the offseason develops.