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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Report: Red Sox unlikely to retain Mookie Betts and/or J.D. Martinez

Alex Speier of The Boston Globe reports that the Red Sox are unlikely to retain outfielder Mookie Betts and/or DH J.D. Martinez. One or both are likely to be traded this winter. The Red Sox purportedly do not have the payroll flexibility to afford both given the recent signings of pitchers Chris Sale and Nathan Eovaldi.

The Red Sox currently have a payroll over $236 million, exceeding the competitive balance tax threshold for a second straight year. Last year, the CBT threshold was $197 million, this year it’s $206 million. The Red Sox will pay a penalty on the $30 million overage, 30 percent ($9 million) plus a 12 percent penalty ($3.6 million) for exceeding the CBT threshold between $20-40 million. To a layperson, these are huge penalties. To a billionaire, they are drops in the ocean. Even to a team, it’s the cost of a free agent reliever.

John Henry, who is the principal owner of the Red Sox (and The Boston Globe), has a net worth of $2.7 billion, according to Forbes. Henry and the Red Sox could keep both Betts and Martinez if they really wanted to. The CBT, of course, was designed to give team owners a reason to limit their investments in their teams, so it’s working exactly as intended.

Ever get the feeling we’re on the verge of a major strike in a few years’ time?

QLE Posted: September 10, 2019 at 01:30 AM | 48 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cheap owners, j.d. martinez, mookie betts, red sox

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   1. PreservedFish Posted: September 10, 2019 at 08:08 AM (#5877990)
How you gonna tell fans that you can't keep Mookie because you signed Nathan Eovaldi.
   2. Scott Ross Posted: September 10, 2019 at 08:25 AM (#5877994)
How strongly do you feel something this seismic if you drop it into the 13th paragraph?
   3. Blastin Posted: September 10, 2019 at 08:48 AM (#5877996)
How you gonna tell fans that you can't keep Mookie because you signed Nathan Eovaldi.


Yeah the early 2020s might be a rough time in BOS. Until they do another 2012 style trade to clear Sale/Price/etc.
   4. Nasty Nate Posted: September 10, 2019 at 09:01 AM (#5877999)
How you gonna tell fans that you can't keep Mookie because you signed Nathan Eovaldi.
You don't because it's not true. His contract is a small percentage of the team's payroll, and is significantly smaller than several other players'. And if there are fans that still think the team doesn't spend after two decades, you don't bother to give them explanations about anything.
   5. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 10, 2019 at 09:09 AM (#5878005)
You don't because it's not true. His contract is a small percentage of the team's payroll, and is significantly smaller than several other players'. And if there are fans that still think the team doesn't spend after two decades, you don't bother to give them explanations about anything.

Here's the thing, Betts has average 7.8 WAR for the last 5 years. You can't replace that. Even if you pay him $40M p.a., that's more value than you'll get spending the $40M on other players.

I don't care how much they've spent. If a team with the Red Sox resources doesn't retain a home grown super-star like Betts because of money, the fans have a right to #####.

They can always attach a few prospects to Eovaldi and give him away. Some rebuilding team will buy the prospect.
   6. PreservedFish Posted: September 10, 2019 at 09:12 AM (#5878007)
Watch Mookie end up with like the Reds or the Giants or some other totally random team.
   7. Tom Nawrocki Posted: September 10, 2019 at 09:23 AM (#5878016)
I'm old enough to remember when Sox fans were soooo excited about Nathan Eovaldi, because he had a decent relief stint in the World Series.
   8. Ithaca2323 Posted: September 10, 2019 at 09:23 AM (#5878017)
I'm with Snapper on this. Betts is a young, elite, homegrown player. If I were a Sox fan and they cried poor about retaining him, I'd be mad too.

Martinez doesn't even phase me. He's on the wrong side of 30, he's a good/very good player, but hardly transcendent, and he's been win the Red Sox for two years. He's a player who makes the Red Sox better, but he's not a franchise cornerstone.
   9. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 10, 2019 at 09:23 AM (#5878019)
Watch Mookie end up with like the Reds or the Giants or some other totally random team.

Toronto would be fun. They'd got basically nothing committed long term, and he might be persuaded that they have enough young talent to be really good soon.
   10. Nasty Nate Posted: September 10, 2019 at 09:31 AM (#5878022)
   5. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 10, 2019 at 09:09 AM (#5878005)....
I don't care how much they've spent. If a team with the Red Sox resources doesn't retain a home grown super-star like Betts because of money, the fans have a right to #####.
Sure, they can ##### away. But my point was that nobody would (or should) blame it on any one existing contract, especially Eovaldi's.
8. Ithaca2323 Posted: September 10, 2019 at 09:23 AM (#5878017)
I'm with Snapper on this. Betts is a young, elite, homegrown player. If I were a Sox fan and they cried poor about retaining him, I'd be mad too.
I don't know what you mean about crying poor. They've always spent a lot and we can assume they will continue to do so. And if he leaves in free agency, the reason is that some other team was willing to pay more money (or he really wanted to play somewhere else). If they acknowledge publicly that some other team was willing to pay more money, it just would be stating the obvious.

---
Anyway, I predict that Mookie will be on the team in 2020, but JD Martinez will not. I offer no predictions about 2021...
   11. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 10, 2019 at 09:45 AM (#5878025)
I don't know what you mean about crying poor. They've always spent a lot and we can assume they will continue to do so. And if he leaves in free agency, the reason is that some other team was willing to pay more money (or he really wanted to play somewhere else). If they acknowledge publicly that some other team was willing to pay more money, it just would be stating the obvious.

Right. And the fan reaction will depend on how much he gets. If he signs the Machado/Harper deal, Red Sox fans should be livid. If he signs for 10/450, you say yeah, too much money.
   12. jmurph Posted: September 10, 2019 at 09:49 AM (#5878029)
There's no real reason to think they'd let Betts go. By all accounts he's happy and likes it there, they have a history of spending big, and he's a great player. Seems like it should be easy unless he's just intent on being elsewhere, which again seems unlikely.

I'm fine with them letting Martinez go if it's the right move (someone gives him a silly contract that would be unwise to match), but preemptively deciding they're out of the market for him would be disappointing.
   13. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: September 10, 2019 at 10:05 AM (#5878038)
Anyway, I predict that Mookie will be on the team in 2020, but JD Martinez will not. I offer no predictions about 2021...


I think both are on the team in 2020. Martinez’ deal allows him to opt out this winter and next but his contract goes from $23 million to 19 million so I think he stays this year then opts out next year.

I think they get Mookie done this winter. It’s not like the Sox haven’t been willing to spend money over the years.
   14. jmurph Posted: September 10, 2019 at 10:47 AM (#5878059)
Martinez’ deal allows him to opt out this winter and next but his contract goes from $23 million to 19 million so I think he stays this year then opts out next year.

It's impossible to imagine he can't beat 3 years/$62 million elsewhere, or even with Boston. I'd be shocked if he didn't opt out.
   15. Itchy Row Posted: September 10, 2019 at 10:48 AM (#5878060)
The line about Martinez and/or Betts leaving almost seems like a passing thought in the original Boston Globe article, and, as #2 mentioned, it's in the 13th paragraph. It doesn't even say "sources say" or "it's been reported."
   16. Textbook Editor Posted: September 10, 2019 at 10:50 AM (#5878061)
So the CBT payroll max is $208 million for 2020. They're currently at $236 million (give or take).

Here's the salaries they're locked into or have control over for 2020:

Price: $31 [Note: CBT value; actual salary is $32]
Sale: $25.6 [Note: CBT value; actual salary is $30]
Betts: $20 in 2019; 3rd year arb 2020
Bogaerts: $20
Eovaldi: $17
Pedroia: $13.75 [Note: CBT value; actual salary is $13]
JBJ: $8.55 in 2019; arb in 2020
EdRod: $4.3 in 2019; arb in 2020
Vasquez: $4.2
Leon: $2.475; arb in 2020
Barnes: $1.6; arb in 2020
Wright: $1.375; arb in 2020
Hembree: $1.31; arb in 2020
Workman: $1.15; arb in 2020
Benintendi: $0.72; 1st year of arb in 2020
Devers: $0.61; team control 2020
Brasier: $0.58; team control 2020
Johnson: $0.58; team control 2020
Velazquez: $0.57; team control 2020
Hernandez: $0.56; team control 2020
Travis: $0.56; team control 2020
Brewer: $0.56; team control 2020
Chavis: MLM ($0.55); team control 2020
D. Hernandez: MLM ($0.55); team control 2020
J. Smith: MLM ($0.55); team control 2020
J. Taylor: MLM ($0.55); team control 2020
Walden: MLM ($0.55); team control 2020
Weber: MLM ($0.55); team control 2020
40-man minors: $2.25
Est. Player Benefits: $15.0 (for 2020)
TOTAL: $178.15


MONEY COMING OFF BOOKS [Note: Not counted in the below are guys like Chacin & Owings who are on minor league deals, those might net $0.5 mil in savings overall]

Porcello: $21
Sandoval: $18.46 [Note: CBT value]
Moreland: $6.55
Pearce: $6.25
Holt: $3.75
Cashner: $1.77 ($10 option for 2020; likely to not get picked up)
Thornburg: $1.75
TOTAL: $59.53


OPT-OUT OPTION

Martinez: $23.75 for 2020 (or $2.5 buyout)

SPECIAL CASE (salary doesn't count to CBT amount):

Castillo: $13.5 in 2020, but may opt out after 2019 (I know, I know, stop laughing)

*********

So looking at this from the POV of who the team has control over, they're currently locked into $177.65 in salary before arb raises for:

Betts: $20 in 2019; 3rd year arb 2020
JBJ: $8.55 in 2019; arb in 2020
EdRod: $4.3 in 2019; arb in 2020
Leon: $2.475; arb in 2020
Barnes: $1.6; arb in 2020
Wright: $1.375; arb in 2020
Hembree: $1.31; arb in 2020
Workman: $1.15; arb in 2020
Benintendi: $0.72; 1st year of arb in 2020

Betts--for him--is having a down year, but I'm guessing he gets $25 at least in arb (he'll no doubt ask for more). Let's take a worst case (for the team) and say he wins $30 in arb
JBJ--again, this one's hard to call. My guess is he'd get $12 or so, but he's also a candidate for release.
Benintendi is the tough one to call here. My guess is he'd ask for $7-$9; let's say he gets $9 just to take the worst case
EdRod is going to get a healthy bump; my guess is $10-$12. Let's say it's $12 to again take a worst case (for the team)
Barnes has had an off year, but my guess is he still gets $4 in arb
Wright is a tough one to call; would guess $2.5 at most (though he could be cut)
Hembree let's say $2.5 to be generous
Workman let's say $4 to be generous
Leon let's say $4 to be generous (though I think he's a candidate for release)

Taking the worst case scenarios for the arb raises:

Betts: $20 in 2019 ($30 in 2020)
JBJ: $8.55 in 2019 ($12 in 2020)
EdRod: $4.3 in 2019 ($12 in 2020)
Leon: $2.475 ($4 in 2020)
Barnes: $1.6 ($4 in 2020)
Wright: $1.375 ($2.5 in 2020)
Hembree: $1.31 ($2.5 in 2020)
Workman: $1.15 ($4 in 2020)
Benintendi: $0.72 ($9 in 2020)
TOTAL RAISES DUE TO ARB: $38.52


The team control guys (there's 13 on the list) will all make between $0.55-1.0 next season; say (being generous) all are kept and 7 make $1.0 and the other 6 make $0.6; that = $10.6 total

When you add the locked-in payroll (and minors + benefits) + Arb Raises + generous MLMs etc. for team control guys, you get:

$178.15 + $38.52 + $10.6 = $227.27***

***Keep in mind that this total assumes JD Martinez opts out; if he doesn't, the total with his 2020 salary is $251.02 million

So... This is quite a bit worse than I would have guessed. Even if I'm badly off on some of the arb awards--and I know I will be--the Red Sox are looking at a starting point of somewhere between $220-$251 million for CBT purposes next season, even with almost $59 million coming off the books (or as much as $82.75 million coming off if JD opts out).

[Note: of the players going off the books, the only one I'd consider keeping is Holt, and it would depend a lot on his asking price; if he wanted $5 mil I'd likely be open to it, but not if he's looking for a big payday.]

The real problem is there's not a whole lot on the list of controlled players that is really moveable. While I would absolutely hate to see him go, if you do trade one of JBJ or Beninendi, I'd trade JBJ, but with a possible $12 million arb salary coming due, the # of teams that would give you anything for him is probably very small--you might even have to toss in a prospect to get anything in return other than salary relief. (Benintendi would get you more, but of the two I think we know who JBJ is at this point, while Benintendi may still have room to grow, so I would keep the latter.) Yes, you could dump Leon and Wright to save maybe ~$6.5 million in possible salaries, but you're likely to need SP next season and I'm not even sure who our controlled C are at the moment in the minors.

What's not clear is what would happen to the CBT value if Pedroia retired and they re-worked his deal to defer some/most of the ~$25 million he's owed over the next two years--would that also lessen the CBT amounts as well? If so, I would almost guarantee that's an avenue they could explore.

They had a payroll of $236 to start this season, and while I know they don't want to go OVER $236 again, getting to $208 (or even close to that) will involved basically shedding some players. All that said, though, if they can trade JBJ and jettison Leon/Wright they'd likely come down about $18.5 million from my estimated $227.27 million starting point***, which would set the payroll at $208.77... even with Betts (in my scenario above) earning $30 million a year (which is likely close to the amount he'd get as part of any long-term contract).
[***assuming the JD opt-out]


Granted... they'd be at $208.77 with a replacement-level 2B (M. Hernandez), Sam Travis/Vasquez at 1B, and needing a LF (if Bradley leaves, Benintendi slides over to CF I'd guess)... And health questions at 3 SP slots (earning ~$70 mil of that $208.77)... which is... not ideal.

Unless they do something monumentally dumb (like trade Devers along with, say, Price--the "healthiest" of their 3 injured SP for someone else's top prospect + salary relief), I don't see any way they're getting under $208 in 2020 or $210 in 2021... But with some trims they can get pretty close... albeit with some very big holes (see above), so they might as well just trim where they can at the margins, hope JD opts out, and accept that if the SPs crash again 2020 will likely be more of the same unless some of their prospects make a huge leap in-season next year... But a lot does hinge on the JD opt-out...

Apologies for the long post.

[EDIT: I can't do math, and thus I had to revise several things...]
   17. DCA Posted: September 10, 2019 at 10:51 AM (#5878062)
Isn't the precedent that JDM opts out and then resigns for an extra year at approximately the same salary? It would suprise me if that doesn't happen.

Betts isn't going anywhere this offseason. He might walk after 2020 and auction himself on the FA market, but the Sox aren't going to give up on him a year early.

   18. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: September 10, 2019 at 10:54 AM (#5878063)
I honestly thought it was commonly assumed that J.D. Martinez will opt-out and go elsewhere.

But Betts ain't going nowhere. An extra incentive to go ahead and give Betts the biggest contract ever is that if they don't, there's an excellent chance he's playing for the Yankees in two years.
   19. Nasty Nate Posted: September 10, 2019 at 10:58 AM (#5878065)
Apologies for the long post.
Don't apologize! Thank you. I do have some quibbles:

I'd trade JBJ, but with a possible $12 million arb salary coming due, the # of teams that would give you anything for him is probably very small
If the point is to shed his salary, they don't need much back.
Despite the payroll, 2020 is setting up to be a clear transition year unless they gut the team (which I can't see them doing).
Gutting the team would be a much bigger transition year! If they still have Betts-Bogaerts-Devers-Vasquez-Benintendi-Chavis-Sale-Price-Rodriguez-bullpen guys coming back, that's not a big transition, relatively speaking.
   20. Textbook Editor Posted: September 10, 2019 at 11:11 AM (#5878066)
NN--No problem; I started looking at this (I haven't all season) and it led in some surprising directions.

If the point is to shed his salary, they don't need much back.


My concern is that I'm not sure there are many teams that would be willing to pay an arb salary of ~$12 million for what JBJ brings to the table. He's an odd duck--a lot of his value is tied up in his defense, but his bat can go AWOL for a month at a time, and on a contending team where he's an important piece, that would be a problem. On, say, a stacked offensive team, it's less of a problem... I think trading him without eating some of the arb salary or including prospects might be hard. Now... maybe he only gets $9.5 mil in arb--that makes him a bit more palatable, perhaps, as a straight dump.

Gutting the team would be a much bigger transition year! If they still have Betts-Bogaerts-Devers-Vasquez-Benintendi-Chavis-Sale-Price-Rodriguez-bullpen guys coming back, that's not a big transition, relatively speaking.


My concern there is you're pretty much punting the right side of the infield (1B/2B) and one of the OF positions + have no backup C (assumes Leon/JBJ are dropped and Holt isn't re-signed). Signing Holt probably covers some 1B and 2B, but he's probably stretched as an everyday 2B at this point.

The real wild card(s) is Sale-Price-Eovaldi... there's no real escaping them as 3 of your 5 starters, and while EdRod may have made the leap to a #2 guy this year, if those 3 perform only a bit better than this year and not at their hoped-for levels... 2020 will be a long year.

But the good news is if JD opts-out, I think there IS $ to pay Betts handsomely AND start to bring that CBT payroll # down a bit... it's just that they're also more or less locked into their current roster (minus JD) as well...

   21. jmurph Posted: September 10, 2019 at 11:12 AM (#5878067)
Unless they do something monumentally dumb (like trade Devers along with, say, Price--the "healthiest" of their 3 injured SP for someone else's top prospect + salary relief), I don't see any way they're getting under $208 in 2020 or $210 in 2021... But with some trims they can get pretty close... albeit with some very big holes (see above), so they might as well just trim where they can at the margins, hope JD opts out, and accept that if the SPs crash again 2020 will likely be more of the same unless some of their prospects make a huge leap in-season next year... But a lot does hinge on the JD opt-out...

Another thing they could consider is just paying the tax like a giant market, money printing machine in win now mode should be comfortable doing most of the time.
   22. Nasty Nate Posted: September 10, 2019 at 11:18 AM (#5878069)
If the point is to shed his salary, they don't need much back.
My concern is that I'm not sure there are many teams that would be willing to pay an arb salary of ~$12 million for what JBJ brings to the table. He's an odd duck--a lot of his value is tied up in his defense, but his bat can go AWOL for a month at a time, and on a contending team where he's an important piece, that would be a problem. On, say, a stacked offensive team, it's less of a problem... I think trading him without eating some of the arb salary or including prospects might be hard.
Well, to state the obvious, they don't need many teams willing to pay the salary - only one. And if no one wants him at arb salary, they would hopefully read the situation correctly and therefore they could choose not to offer arbitration. They have time to talk to other teams to determine his potential trade value.
   23. Textbook Editor Posted: September 10, 2019 at 11:41 AM (#5878074)
Well, to state the obvious, they don't need many teams willing to pay the salary - only one. And if no one wants him at arb salary, they would hopefully read the situation correctly and therefore they could choose not to offer arbitration. They have time to talk to other teams to determine his potential trade value.


True. JBJ is just a hard guy to figure out value for--again, on a stacked team, where you can afford to bat him 8/9 in the AL, he's well worth $12 million if you need OF defense + a bit of pop. But as THE guy on an up-and-coming team that doesn't already have a large payroll... he's the sort of player fans turn on.
   24. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: September 10, 2019 at 01:07 PM (#5878102)
You don't because it's not true. His contract is a small percentage of the team's payroll


But it's a huge difference in the payroll tax penalty. Which makes Betts more expensive beyond the AAV he will get paid from arbitration.

The only thing the Red Sox can do is get some tax relief by eating about $30 million of Eovaldi's contract. But they aren't going to get a prospect in return, they will only get payroll relief. I could see the White Sox taking Eovaldi if the Red Sox threw in $33 million - though the White Sox would still be on the hook for $6 million per year which is still higher than his value, so the only thing you'll get in return is someone like Leury Garcia who is arbitration eligible with Luis Robert about to take his primary position (and Madrigal nearly ready to take his secondary position). But Leury Garcia could take JBJ's spot so JBJ could be non-tendered. So that shaves about $14 million off the 2020 payroll, more than covers Betts' 2020 raise, and doesn't really hurt the lineup that much. The White Sox might ask for Flores (kind of expendable now with the Bogaerts extension) to be added to the deal and they could send Yermin Mercedes in return which would make Leon a non-tender candidate and shaves another 2-3 million from the Red Sox payroll (although Benintendi will probably get all of Leon's salary savings).
   25. bunyon Posted: September 10, 2019 at 01:08 PM (#5878103)
I honestly thought it was commonly assumed that J.D. Martinez will opt-out and go elsewhere.

I thought this, too. Which makes the paragraph most likely true. It would be about the same as saying: Unlikely both Betts and Ted Williams play for Sox next year."

Doesn't really say anything about Betts.
   26. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: September 10, 2019 at 01:16 PM (#5878108)
People really need to stop linking to articles (essentially blogs) that are simply a bad interpretation of an actual written article.

   27. Nasty Nate Posted: September 10, 2019 at 01:22 PM (#5878111)
You don't because it's not true. (Eovaldi's) contract is a small percentage of the team's payroll
But it's a huge difference in the payroll tax penalty. Which makes Betts more expensive beyond the AAV he will get paid from arbitration.
I don't think we should assign the cause of going over a luxury tax threshold based on chronology - in the context of a potential Betts potential extension.
   28. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 10, 2019 at 01:29 PM (#5878114)
Martinez’ deal allows him to opt out this winter and next but his contract goes from $23 million to 19 million so I think he stays this year then opts out next year.
The Angels & Yankees are overloaded at DH, so the market may be a bit thin. There are other teams that could & should improve by signing Martinez, but I’m not sure he can count on them doing so. Waiting makes some sense, but the Dombrowski firing may be taken as a sign that Boston is unlikely to sweeten his deal, so he should look elsewhere. Tough call for JD.
   29. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: September 10, 2019 at 02:37 PM (#5878137)
It's impossible to imagine he can't beat 3 years/$62 million elsewhere, or even with Boston. I'd be shocked if he didn't opt out.


First comparison I thought of was Encarnacion. He signed a 3 year deal for $60 million with a club option 4th year ($20M, or $5M buyout). As good a hitter as EE was (136 OPS+ in Toronto), Martinez has been better (153 OPS+ since 2014), and is younger.

I was also going to say that Martinez could theoretically stand on the field wearing a glove, but I see Encarnacion was playing 70-80 games a year at 1B for Toronto.
   30. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 10, 2019 at 03:16 PM (#5878147)
First comparison I thought of was Encarnacion. He signed a 3 year deal for $60 million with a club option 4th year ($20M, or $5M buyout). As good a hitter as EE was (136 OPS+ in Toronto), Martinez has been better (153 OPS+ since 2014), and is younger.
Encarnación could be on the market this off-season, too, providing a less-costly, shorter-term DH alternative than Martinez for those looking for an upgrade. The Yankees have a $20M option/$5M buyout, but will have Stanton & Voit, as well as half-days off for Sanchez, for the position, plus a need to find playing time for LeMahieu, Gregorius, Torres, Urshela & and a now-healthy Miguel Andujar. Unless Encarnación comes up big in the playoffs, I think the Yankees decline the option given his age & cost, and their ready alternatives.
   31. Walt Davis Posted: September 10, 2019 at 07:06 PM (#5878217)
First comparison I thought of was Encarnacion.

Yep but two years later, the Indians were moving Encanarnacion off the roster. Nelson Cruz WHO HAS AN OPS OVER 1000! is much older but as good a hitter as JDM and got $14. Donaldson, coming off injury, got 1/$23 -- the "1" is not worrying for JDM but the $23 is. As noted, if the Yanks aren't in the market and Bos doesn't want him -- the Angels are still stuck, the Astros don't seem to need him ... I think that leaves him with Tor, maybe Tex, maybe Cle as potential employers. (Minn will surely just resign Cruz rather than 3/$60 for JDM.) Otherwise back to the OF in the NL.

On lux tax, threshold, etc. Beyond the tax as a percentage of total payroll (low), it can be viewed as a marginal cost which makes it really quite high. Sign Mookie for, say, 10/$340 (just below Trout), you'll be adding (up to) $10 M every time you're over the threshold. Snapper woludn't sign him for 10/$450 -- that's the equivalent of 10/$340 if (big if) the rest of the payroll is going to be at/above the threshold every year. (And of course that extra $10 M doesnt end up in Mookie's or Henry's pockets which should annoy almost everybody.) We can't just blithely say the Red Sox should obviously sign Mookie for 10/$340 because that either means they'll be paying more than that due to the threshold or shedding players. (And of course if the Red Sox are willing to pay 10/$450 for Mookie including those marginal costs, surely some other team without lux tax issues would be willing to go 10/$400 with all $400 going to Mookie, so why should he sign with the Sox?)

That said -- duh, of course the Sox should extend Mookie. If they have to shed some players, shed some players.

In theory, with perfect information, the JBJ issue solves itself. If you need to shed his salary but know you can't trade him for anything of value because of his pending arb salary then you just non-tender him. You achieve the same goal while receiving the same return (nada). If JBJ has excess value to somebody at $12, then you can trade him for that value. And thanks to the CBA, it's not a huge gamble to take him to arb then cut him at that mid-spring date when teams can get out of most of an arbitrated agreement.

But the lux tax penalties are in my opinion pretty severe:

20% in year 1; 30% in year 2; 50% in year 3. Next year would be year 3 for the Sox so the 50% rate would apply. Moreover, there is a further 12% tax if you exceed by more than $20 M which, per the intro, applies to the Sox this year and, without substantial (and doable) reduction again next year. (I think the 12% is just on the amount over $20 but the MLB page isn't clear on that). If you exceed the threshold by more than $40 M, that's a 42% surcharge. Also if you exceed by $40 M, your highest draft pick gets moved back 10 slots.

So sure, if you dance between the 2020 threshold of $208 and $228 and manage to reset every third year then the lux tax is no big deal for Yanks, Red Sox, Cubs, Dodgers, etc. We might then consider that for the wealthy teams, the effective threshold is around that $228 figure. But no team is going to want to go beyond that regularly and certainly no team is going to want to go beyond $248 -- well ever.

As to Eovaldi -- boy you folks are fickle. He got hurt. He's had a kinda rough time back from injury but (a) it's just 27 innings; (b) it's just two crap outings (over 2.2. innings); (c) it's still 33 K in those 27 IP, killed by a 358 BABIP. Did you really think Nathan Eovaldi was the quality of pitcher that would never have a 27-inning run of 5.70 ERA?
   32. Swoboda is freedom Posted: September 10, 2019 at 07:09 PM (#5878219)
True. JBJ is just a hard guy to figure out value for--again, on a stacked team, where you can afford to bat him 8/9 in the AL, he's well worth $12 million if you need OF defense + a bit of pop. But as THE guy on an up-and-coming team that doesn't already have a large payroll... he's the sort of player fans turn o


He is also going to be 30 next year. Not a lot of guys can keep playing CF at that age. And his bat doesn't work for a corner position.
   33. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: September 10, 2019 at 07:11 PM (#5878221)
That Sox really are in about the perfect situation with JBJ. Ride him through his age 30 season then cut bait when he gets expensive and probably declines.

What Walt said is true. You sign Mookie, everyone else you figure it out. If that means you have to trade someone for pennies on the dollar so be it.
   34. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: September 10, 2019 at 11:16 PM (#5878279)
I really don't care how much Mookie costs, you make him a Red Sock for life. Seriously, I would not balk at 14/600 even though my seats will get ever more expensive. He's a home grown, amazing, fantastic, charismatic talent. You pay whatever you need to keep him.
   35. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 10, 2019 at 11:23 PM (#5878282)
I really don't care how much Mookie costs, you make him a Red Sock for life. Seriously, I would not balk at 14/600 even though my seats will get ever more expensive. He's a home grown, amazing, fantastic, charismatic talent. You pay whatever you need to keep him.
That's...something. Approximately what some Cardinals fans said about Pujols 8 years ago, I suppose. Imagine having 6 more years at $43 million per on that deal.
   36. Walt Davis Posted: September 11, 2019 at 12:42 AM (#5878303)
That's...something. Approximately what some Cardinals fans said about Pujols 8 years ago, I suppose. Imagine having 6 more years at $43 million per on that deal.

Wisdom of 14/$600 for Mookie aside, Pujols was entering his age 32 season so of course you don't sign him for 14 years. Mookie will be turning 28 when he's scheduled to be FA.

If they'd extended Pujols when he was turning 28, the Cards would have 45.6 WAR out of him ... but yeah, another 2 useless years left (which is what the Angels have anyway). That would of course have been 12 years ago and seeing as how Pujols got 10/$240 4 years later, 14/$336 would have been a huge contract at the time. ARod was highest AAV at the time at $27.5, so let's call Pujols' upper-end offer at that time at 14/$375. (I think Santana was next at $23.) Who knows how accurate the estimates are but fangraphs seems to put $/WAR back then at $6 so a NPV around $270 in 2008 $ would be "fair" for Pujols' 45.6 WAR. At 5% return, 14/$336 comes out to a NPV a bit under $240. Even 14 years at $27 per works out "fair."

Too much of Mookie's value is tied up in speed and defense to consider him the equivalent of prime Pujols so, no, I'm not recommending giving him anything like 14/$450 (about the equivalent of 14/$336 in today's dollars) but it's less crazy than it sounds (it sounds really crazy). 14/$600 would be over the top.
   37. Howie Menckel Posted: September 11, 2019 at 12:48 AM (#5878307)
People really need to stop linking to articles (essentially blogs) that are simply a bad interpretation of an actual written article.

yes. but that ship has sailed, alas.
   38. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: September 11, 2019 at 06:21 PM (#5878491)
My point isn't that I think Mookie should get anywhere near 600m, my point is that I really don't give a #### what it costs to keep him and they should keep him no matter what it takes.
   39. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: September 11, 2019 at 07:07 PM (#5878501)
Trout, Machado, Harper...they all signed deals that should create a pretty good framework for a Mookie deal. Put something in the middle there and you should be able to come to an agreement.

Here's the question I have; the CBA expires after 2021. As I recall some big name FAs had language in their deals back around the 2002 almost-strike that ensured they got paid. That kind of thing may well be the biggest sticking point for the Sox and Mookie both in terms of how a deal is structured. Because of that it might behoove Mookie to sign next year, get the Sox to put in some big ass signing bonus so he gets his dough up front. That of course assumes the Sox want to do that but it might be the kind of thing that can give them an advantage in trying to get him done before he reaches the market.
   40. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: September 11, 2019 at 08:15 PM (#5878520)
He is also going to be 30 next year. Not a lot of guys can keep playing CF at that age.

Ridiculous. Is he still a plus centerfielder? (I have no idea) Then that's not likely to meaningfully change because he has a birthday. There is nothing magical about turning 30.
   41. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 11, 2019 at 09:23 PM (#5878529)
Ridiculous. Is he still a plus centerfielder? (I have no idea) Then that's not likely to meaningfully change because he has a birthday. There is nothing magical about turning 30.

Not for a one year deal, no. But it certainly means you don't want to commit to Bradley being your CF for the next 4 years.
   42. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: September 11, 2019 at 09:35 PM (#5878534)
I can think of three ways, two of which are fairly unlikely, that Betts ever takes an at bat for a team other than the Red Sox:

1. He pulls a Nomar and goes from superstar to something significantly less over the course of a season or two, and the Sox let him go because he's not actually that important to the team anymore.

2. He's really dedicated to going to free agency and they let some other rich team swoop in and get him, which I just don't think is all that likely.

3. Ten years from now he's playing out the string with whoever will have him, like Manny did.

I'd say that covers about 99% of the scenarios, and the last one is probably more than half of that. Teams like the Red Sox only lose players like Betts if they genuinely think they're not worth having around anymore.
   43. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 11, 2019 at 09:43 PM (#5878536)
2. He's really dedicated to going to free agency and they let some other rich team swoop in and get him, which I just don't think is all that likely.

I don't think that's all that unlikely. I'd bet the Red Sox sign him, but I wouldn't give heavy odds.

At this point, there's no reason for Betts to sign anything less than a market rate extension. He's basically guaranteed $50M in career earnings, unless he gets crippled. He has no pressure to sign. I would say the Machado/Harper contracts are the floor.
   44. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: September 12, 2019 at 07:36 PM (#5878806)
I would say the Machado/Harper contracts are the floor.


Well I am sure Mookie is glad to hear that seeing as he is better then both those guys anyway and the same age. Outside of Harper's freakish MVP year, he's a 3 WAR player. Machado has been a bit more consistent, but looks like settling into a 4-4.5 WAR player(based on his last 3 years). Mookie is effectively a 7 WAR player. You can take the defensive ratings with a grain of salt and he's still a 5-6 WAR player, so yeah consistently better then those 2.

I think the way to think about this is starting with Trout and just going a bit down from there. Trout's extension is what 12/430? AAV of $36 mil/per. Harper got 13/330, Machado got 10/300.

Mookie should be looking at 10/350, 11/375 type of thing. No?
   45. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 12, 2019 at 07:41 PM (#5878807)

Well I am sure Mookie is glad to hear that seeing as he is better then both those guys anyway and the same age. Outside of Harper's freakish MVP year, he's a 3 WAR player. Machado has been a bit more consistent, but looks like settling into a 4-4.5 WAR player(based on his last 3 years). Mookie is effectively a 7 WAR player. You can take the defensive ratings with a grain of salt and he's still a 5-6 WAR player, so yeah consistently better then those 2.


I know he's better, that's why I said "floor", not best estimate.

I think the way to think about this is starting with Trout and just going a bit down from there. Trout's extension is what 12/430? AAV of $36 mil/per. Harper got 13/330, Machado got 10/300.

Mookie should be looking at 10/350, 11/375 type of thing. No?


I don't think he gets that much on an extension. If he goes FA, maybe close.
   46. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 12, 2019 at 08:00 PM (#5878811)
Mookie should be looking at 10/350, 11/375 type of thing. No?
That seems in the right neighborhood, although the market might tic up a bit over the next year, and his 2020 season could also affect his value. If the Red Sox are willing to go to ~ $350M, they ought to make the push to re-sign him this offseason. Even if Mookie thinks he should be a little closer to Trout, eliminating the risk of injury or a down 2020 season would have some value to him.
   47. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: September 12, 2019 at 08:56 PM (#5878823)
Well I am sure Mookie is glad to hear that seeing as he is better then both those guys anyway and the same age.


He may be the same age NOW, but he will not be the same age as they were when they hit FA. Yeah, 28 is still young, and he is better, but when you are talking about a 10-year contract, starting it at 26 vs 28 does matter.
   48. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: September 12, 2019 at 09:16 PM (#5878827)
I know he's better, that's why I said "floor", not best estimate.


Yeah, I know. I was only giving you a hard time as you kind of stated the obvious.

I threw those estimates out in post 44 based on him becoming a FA. If the Sox could sign him this offseason for 10/350 I think that would be great.

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