By Tony Massarotti, 98.5 The Sports Hub
Welcome to Boston, Chaim Bloom. Your job just got tougher.
But wait. Isn’t it good news that J.D. Martinez has returned to the Red Sox, yesterday exercising his option to remain with the team? Well, yes. And no. With Martinez on the books, the Red Sox projected 2020 payroll now sits at roughly $225 million, which is well below the Sox’ total of roughly $245 million last season. Unfortunately, it’s also well above the $208 million luxury tax threshold the Sox are intent on staying under for the 2020 season, which means something must give.
Translation: Somebody – or somebodies – must go.
And when we say somebody, we don’t just mean Jackie Bradley and his projected $11 million salary. That isn’t enough. We mean somebody (or more than one) from the group of Nathan Eovaldi ($17 million), David Price ($31 million), Chris Sale ($25.6 million) and, yes, Mookie Betts, the last of whom has a projected salary of $27.7 million next summer and will be a free agent at the end of the 2020 season.
Of course, the Sox could try to trade Martinez, too, which would further support the theory that they really didn’t want Martinez to come back in the first place.
And when we say the Sox want to get under $208 million, we don’t mean $207.99. We mean $200ish.
It all sounds pretty simple, right? It isn’t. First of all, big contracts are difficult to trade, especially when you consider that Sale hasn’t even begun a five-year extension yet. (Price has three years remaining on his deal.) But the real issue is that the 2020 Red Sox also have needs to fill – at second base, first base, in the bullpen and in the starting rotation, especially if they trade one of the pitchers.
And we haven’t even touched on the questionable health of Sale and Price, in particular, both of whom ended 2019 with injuries.
So let’s lay all that out for you. Bloom needs to:
- Trim $25 million from the payroll;
- Get help at first base, second base, in the bullpen and in the rotation;
- And trade high-priced talents who have either one year remaining on a contract (Betts) or are overpriced/injured (Sale, Price, Eovaldi).
Good luck, Mr. Bloom.
If the ink isn’t dry, you still have time to run.