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2009 Payroll - With Lester and Kottaras


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#1 philly sox fan


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Posted 25 November 2008 - 06:16 PM

3/24 Edits:
I guess not quite the final roster.

Added in Lester's extension. That doesn't really change much, but solidifies that the longterm rotation can be built on Lester and Matsuzaka at very reasonable prices. I've mentioned this with each longterm deal and it further adds to the fact that the Sox could end up saving some luxury tax money down the line buy "pre-loading" some high AAV years while they're well under the threshold.

This year the Sox will pay Lester/Youk/Pedroia 9M, but their AAV for luxury tax purposes is 23.0625M. If the Sox were well over the threshold they would have to pay 40% on that extra paper 14M. In 2010 it the gap will narrow but still favor the Sox - 16.75M in pay vs 23.0625M AAV. It basically equilibrates in 2011 - Sox pay 23.75 vs 23.0625 AAV. After that it becomes increasingly large gap in the Sox favor. In 2012 it will be 28.125 (vs ~23M) and in 2013 it will be 35.875M if they pick up Youkilis' option. The AAV number will be ~20M in 2013 because Youk's option is at a higher price.

Now the Sox haven't hit the threshold for a couple of years and are set up to not have too, but if they do go over the threshold in those years (and, of course, that's based on a CBA that hasn't been negiated yet either) then they could end up saving a decent chunk of luxury tax cash.

Also dropped Bard for Kottaras which lowers the 09 payroll by 1M and sets up a much cheaper 2nd catcher option going forward.

That leaves the spring training AAV payroll as:

Rotation: 39.59M
Bullpen: 14.67M
Regulars: 66.145
Reserves: 11.42M

Total: 131.825M

Actual cash outlay is several million less than that.



2/4 Edits:

Added in Varitek which seems to complete the roster. Didn't bother to add in Wilkerson since he's on a minor league deal. There are a half dozen or so pre-arb players whose very cheap contracts have yet to be determined. Those players combined won't change the total by more than a couple hundred thousand.

That leaves the spring training AAV payroll as:

Rotation: 34.59M
Bullpen: 14.67M
Regulars: 66.145
Reserves: 12.6M

Total: 128.005M

Due to the longterm extensions the actual cash outlay is less than that by ~6M or so. Otoh, there are a ton of bonus incentives on the roster. Might easily add another 5-10M just from those. It's certainly the case that if there are good players to had cheaply during the year because of the tanking economy that there will be plenty of payroll space to accomodate them.



1/20 Edits:

Added the two arbitration signings of Papelbon and Lopez. Their combined salaries are a bit over 1M less than my intentionally high estimates.

I could toss Kottaras into the empty catcher slot and call it a roster, but still expect someone better, although not necessarily all that expensive to show up eventually.

Pending that possible acquisition I have the AAV payroll as:

Rotation: 34.59M
Bullpen: 15.07M
Regulars: 62.145
Reserves: 12.6M

Total: 124.405M

As mentioned previously that number is inflated by the longterm deals to Youks and Pedroia. The current expected 2009 cash expenditure would be closer to 118M. Otoh, the roster is loaded with incentives that will probably add another 8M or so at least.

An opening day expected payroll under 120M would be the Sox lowest since 2003.



1/18 Edits:
Added in Youkilis' contract. With the economy and the FA market going south a bit, I had started to think that my intentionally high estimates for Youk and Papelbon were going to end up being very high. That sorta was and was not true for Youk. I had given him a one year estimate at 9M with, of course, a 9M AAV. His actual 2009 salary will be just 6M (or 6.25 spreading out the signing bonus or 7M if we're talking about actual cash paid out). But his AAV is actually higher at 10.3125M.

As I mentioned one of the things the Sox could do with their projected salary being so far below the luxury tax threshold is to sign players to extentions which could dramatically raise their AAV based luxury tax payroll without having to worry about paying tax on money that isn't actually being spent in 2009. The cash outlay on Youk and Pedroia for 2009 is ~8M (a little higher if you count all of their signing bonuses) and their combined AAV is a little over 17M. Last year (and the forseeable future) the Yankees were well over the luxury tax threshold so they had to pay tax on Cano's phantom money in this situation. The Sox won't.

I also changed Okajima's AAV up to 1.75M from 1.25M. As was mentioned, he is now on an option which is the only year used for AAV.

Currently have the payroll (by AAV) as:

Rotation: 34.59M
Bullpen: 16.47M
Regulars: 62.145
Reserves: 12.6M

Total: 125.805M

The Sox actual costs are a bit under 120M. The AAV calculation is inflated by Pedroia/Youk by 9M, but Bay's contract is just the opposite - higher 2009 slaary than AAV by ~3M.

Sox still need just a catcher which may or may not be moving closer to a resolution with the Henry-Varitek meeting.



1/11 Edits:
Added Smoltz to the rotation/DL. Left Buchholz so I'm counting full salaries for 7 starters.

Added Saito to the pen. So far the guaranteed portion of his contract has been reported as between 1.5 and 2.5M. I used the high end. One thing that's interesting to note about the Sox payroll position for 2009 is that with all of these injury risk, incentive laden deals they have tons of potential bonus money written into contracts. I'm pretty sure it's over 15M by now. I'd be shocked if any other team is anywhere close to that.

Saito completes the pen in that their are now seven good pitchers with guaranteed contracts or in the case of the younger pitchers (MDC, Masterson) deserving of roles in the pen. I'm not sure it completes the pen in terms of having a potential 3-4 inning guy available unless they intend to reserve Masterson for that low leverage insurance role which seems odd given his high leverage usage last year.

Added Baldelli and Kotsay to the bench and as long as you assume Bard is just the backup (as I am for now), then that does complete the bench. That assumes that Lugo stays which seems very likely. There hasn't been any talk of moving him lately and the kind of bad contract for bad contract deals he was rumored to be in don't many sense any more, ie no room for crappy Dontrelle Willis type pitchers or overpaid Eric Byrnes level 4th OFs.

I'm keeping the starting catcher spot open because I expect a trade, but in theory you could add in Kottaras and call the roster complete, or at least full at every spot.

Currently have the payroll (by AAV) as:

Rotation: 34.59M
Bullpen: 15.97M
Regulars: 60.8325
Reserves: 12.6M

Total: 123.9925M

Right now they just need a starting catcher. A young pre-arb p layer - whether the lousy in Kottaras or the potentially very good in Salty - would keep the payroll under 125M. It's not really clear what the expensive options are at this point. Would they bring back a no leverage Varitek for more than 6M? That's about the only way to get the opening day payroll up over 130M. Last year they started at 133 and ended at 137. Two years ago the payroll was 143M and they paid another 6M in luxury tax which should count as a player expense.

Even assuming some portion of the incentives - half for ~8M? - need to be paid the Sox will have plenty of room to add salary during the season and/or a big bump in profits.



12/29 Edits:
Added Penny to the rotation even though it's not official. Left Buchholz and his nothing deal in as the 6th starter.

Replaced Cash with Bard as the reserve catcher even though that's not official and will be a non-guaranteed deal.

Changed the potential super2 status of Delcarmen.

Currently have the payroll (by AAV) as:

Rotation: 29.09M
Bullpen: 13.47M
Regulars: 60.8325
Reserves: 10.6M

Total: 113.9925M

Needs: starting catcher, quality reserve 4th OF, corner reserve and another low leverage cheap releiver/long man. That last guy could be Wes Littleton who is in the organization, but I haven't felt like adding him in for whatever reason.



12/3 Edits:

Added Tazawa to the bullpen just to add his MLB deal someplace.

Added in Pedroia's long term deal. The cost guarantee and locked in back end savings has a big effect on his 2009 AAV. I had him estimated at 1M and that's now up to 6.75M. That doesn't actually mean anything as long as the Sox remain under the luxury tax limit. Previous estimate was 101.5M and with these two signings (neither of which fills a hole) the current baseline is up to 108.3M. Still plenty of room to stay under the threshold.



I’ve been meaning to post a table of the Sox future salry commitments for awhile. Already missed on transaction and just in case Teixeira will be trying to log in on Thanksgiving, I’ll knock it out now.

I’ve estimated some of the service time and 2009 AAV figures for the pre-FA players. I tried to guess high. But left their pre-arb and/or arbitration status for the actual seasons generic.

Rotation

Table
Pos Player Service Time AAV 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
SP Josh Beckett 7.030 10 10.5 12*
SP Daisuke Matsuzaka 2.000 8.67 8 8 10 10
SP Tim Wakefield 15.060 4 4 4*
SP Brad Penny 9.000 5 5
SP John Smoltz 20.072 5.5 5.5
SP Jon Lester 2.072 6 1.05 3.8 5.8 7.675 11.675 13*
SP Clay Buchholz 0.131 0.42 pre-arb pre-arb pre-arb arb1 arb2 arb3
39.59


You could replace Buchholz with Masterson if you like, but the price stays the same. At least in 2008, that was a fantastic Top 4 for the combined salary of one year of Sabathia’s next contract. That’s obviously fantastic value although there are some caveats. The contracts for Beckett and Matsuzaka are quite team friendly, but the hidden acquisition costs – Hanley Ramirez and a 51.111M posting fee, respectively – were also quite substantial.

In terms of value the Sox also benefit from the fact that Wakefield doesn’t seem to care about maximizing his earnings. Lester’s low cost is due to the more traditional route of drafting and developing a high quality player. I’ve given him a generous, though I don’t believe unprecedented pre-arbitration bump to 1M. The Sox may not go quite so high. Last year with similar service time and performance, Cole Hamels pushed for 900k and the Phillies somewhat controversially wielded their renewal power and signed him for 500k. The Sox may try to buy a little more goodwill with Lester.

Assuming Wakefield and Beckett are healthy, the Sox can certainly head into 2009 with those four starters and the young trio of Buchholz, Masterson and Bowden fighting for the 5th spot. Or they can sign a veteran free agent. At least so far they’ve been linked more towards the non-Sabathia high end of Burnett and Lowe, then the bottom of the rotation Paul Byrd types.

You can also see that the Sox control all of these pitchers for the 2009/10 short term. Longer term, Matsuzaka and Lester will be the anchors of the rotation along with whichever of the young pitchers steps up. Again, the Sox are in great shape with two front line anchor starters under control through 2012. Whether or not the Sox see a Burnett or Sabathia as an important hedge against losing Beckett after 2010 may be a factor in their decision to sign a veteran free agent to a long term deal this winter.

Bullpen

Table
Pos Player Service Time AAV 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
RP Jonathan Papelbon 3.064 6.25 6.25 arb2 arb3
RP Hideki Okajima 2.000 1.75 1.75 arb1 arb2 arb3
RP Ramon Ramirez 2.113 0.65 pre-arb arb1 arb2 arb3
RP Justin Masterson 0.075 0.42 pre-arb pre-arb pre-arb arb1 arb2 arb3
RP Manny Delcarmen 2.133 0.65 pre-arb arb1 arb2 arb3
RP Javier Lopez 4.126 1.35 1.35 arb3
RP Takashi Saito 3.000 2.5 2.5 CO
minors Junichi Tazawa 0.000 1.1 1.05 1.1 1.15 pre-arb pre-arb arb1
14.67


I originally slotted Papelbon in at 5-6M. A 7M salary is probably more something he would ask for in arbitration (and even that might be a bit aggressive for a 1st year award) with a likely settlement figure somewhere below that. Lopez won’t get 2M either. I bumped up Ramirez and Delcarmen a bit because they might be Super 2s with arbitration rights, but they’ll probably fall a little short.

The Sox will have someone else as a long man and may need to replace Masterson if he’s in the rotation (or traded). Because so many of the pitchers are pre-arbitration and all are pre-FA that keeps the total cost way down. These six pitchers will combine to make just a bit more than Brian Fuentes is rumored to want. Papelbon is the anchor of the pen and the Sox can keep this group together at least through 2011.

Lineup

Table
Pos Player Service Time AAV 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
C Jason Varitek 11.020 4 5 3
1B Kevin Youkilis 4.093 10.3125 6.25 9.25 12.25 12.25 14*
2B Dustin Pedroia 2.041 6.75 1.75 3.75 5.75 8.25 10.25 10.25
SS Jed Lowrie 0.075 0.42 pre-arb pre-arb pre-arb arb1 arb2 arb3
3B Mike Lowell 10.020 12.5 12 12
RF JD Drew 10.020 14 14 14 14
CF Jacoby Ellsbury 1.037 0.6 pre-arb pre-arb arb1 arb2 arb3
LF Jason Bay 5.080 4.5625 7.5
DH David Ortiz 10.048 13 12.5 12.5 12.5*
66.145


Here’s the first big hole at catcher. There’s a wide range of potential costs to fill it. If the Sox acquire and start a young catcher like Teagarden or Saltalamaccia the starting catcher slot could be less than 1M. And I guess the maximum bend over for the Captain slot would be about 10M.

Again, I aimed a little high on Youkilis’ potential arbitration salary. He may be more likely in the 7-8M range although notable accomplishments like finishing 3rd in the MVP voting are something that can be considered by the arbitrator.

I also gave Pedroia a post-MVP bump to a nice round million dollar figure. Like Lester, the Sox will have to consider how much to invest in a goodwill gesture to a star level pre-arbitration player.

Everybody else is very cheap or has an already existing contract. Note that Bay’s AAV is substantially below his 2009 salary. If the Sox end up pressed against the luxury tax threshold – it seems highly likely that they won’t be the case – that would give them 3M in wiggle room.
Youkilis and the three post-FA veterans (Lowell, Drew and Ortiz) form the 2009/10 short term group. Bay is the real short timer and although filling the 2009 LF slot with Bay at 7.5M is still an excellent side benefit of the Ramirez trade, there do seem to be some decent corner OF options on the FA market. As it happens, it wouldn’t have been a terribly difficult position to fill this winter.

The home grown Epstein players – Pedroia, Lowrie, Ellsbury and in the minors Lars Anderson – are right now the core of the 2011 and beyond long term lineup. The relative lack of power in that group might be a reason the Sox are reportedly very interested in Mark Teixeira. Trying to fit Teixeira’s likely salary number into the payroll structure is much easier than actually fitting him in with Youkilis and Lowell already in place.

The Sox had Ramirez and his 20M salary as a payroll driver for so long that it’s amazing to realize that Drew is currently the highest paid player at 14M and the Sox only have three other players making at least 10M (Beckett, Lowell, Ortiz and I guess sort of Matsuzaka if you wanted to include his posting fee).



Bench

Table
Pos Player Service Time AAV 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
INF Julio Lugo 8.152 9 9 9
C George Kottaras 0.021 0.42 pre-arb pre-arb pre-arb arb1 arb2 arb3
CO Mark Kotsay 11.018 1.5 1.5
OF Rocco Baldelli 6.000 0.5 0.5
11.42


It was an incredibly expensive bench with Crisp at 5M and Lugo at 9M both signed for starter money. And now, it’s still an incredibly expensive bench just with Lugo at 9M.

It’s hard to believe that Kevin Cash has enough service time to go to arbitration. A player of his ability would almost be an automatic non-tender. If he’s now positioned as a must have personal catcher for Wakefield, then I gave him a quick 1M settlement.

The Sox need a high quality 4th OF to replace Crisp and corner reserve to replace Sean Casey. Last year, the Sox paid their three non-backup catcher reserves (Cora, Crisp and Casey) about 7.5M. Keeping Lugo as a reserve obviously blows that out of the water. But I’d think the Sox would ideally plan on spending 5-10M on their bench.

The current grand total with some high end arbitration estimates is just over 101.5M with holes at starting catcher, long reliever, a couple of bench spots and possibly another starting pitcher.

The catcher will cost 1-10M. The long reliever should be pretty small, say less than 3M at the very most. Maybe another 5M for the two bench spots? The rotation spot could be anywhere from 0 (ie keep Buchholz penciled in) to ~8M (a Byrd type) to ~15M (Burnett/Lowe?) to ~25M (Sabathia). Fitting in Teixeira and possibly subtracting or partially eating Lowell’s contract is fairly complicated.

The most expensive options – sign Varitek for 10M, spend 8M on another reliever and a couple bench spots, and sign Sabathia for 25M – would add another 43M. That would leave the payroll at ~145M. I haven’t seen the official year end 2008 payroll, but it will probably be in the 135-140M range. The 2009 luxury tax threshold is 160.5M. If the assumption that there is also 10M in benefits that has to fit under that threshold is still true, then the Sox just have to stay under 150M to not pay any payroll tax. A 145M payroll would accomplish that and leave the Sox with a 5M cushion for in season pickups.

It’s also not difficult to project out moves that would leave the payroll closer to 120M. That’s about what the Sox averaged from 2004-2006.

What should they spend? The easy answer is whatever it takes to project to win 95 games and likely make the playoffs. There’s enough talent in place right now that it might not take much more than 120M to achieve. That’s not an unreasonable figure, but failing to make the playoffs at that payroll level would generate a fair amount of criticism.

What can they afford to spend? That’s impossible for an outsider to answer and the current economic meltdown makes even our best guesses murky, but there’s pretty strong evidence that they can afford to spend a lot. The Sox have consistently spent at or near the luxury tax threshold even as it has increased from year to year. If that level of spending fit their overall business interests before than it seems reasonable to think it should still fit in 2009. Just two years ago the Sox spent 153M in payroll and another 6M in tax. That was accompanied by a bit of a dip in draft spending, which we don’t want, so perhaps that was a bit much, but 159M in major league payroll in 2007 at least strongly suggests that 150M is easily manageable in 2009.

If the Sox do have that kind of room to grow their payroll, what could they do with another 45-50M? Just about anything they want. Sign an Japanese amateur pitcher with mixed scouting reports? Completely remodel the lineup with a huge offer to Teixeira? Over pay for veteran team leadership from their Captain? Eat significant money on veteran contracts (either Lugo or perhaps Lowell)? Sure, although at least thus far they’ve been more rumored to be swapping bad contracts which doesn’t make any sense for a team so far below its likely payroll limit.

#2 The Boomer

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Posted 27 November 2008 - 10:39 AM

I don't see the Sox seriously acquiring a costly free agent and IMO all the rumors are window dressing. Lars Anderson, Buchholz and all the cost effective youngsters will be given their chances to reach their potential (or to fail). They ought to try to get younger at catcher in particular. I see them more interested in one of the Texas catchers, Montero or somebody like that who will be more cost effective in the lineup. Varitek for not more than one year to mentor their selected catcher of the future will be considered.

Lugo for Willis makes sense as a pure change of scenery/team need move. The 4th outfielder and primary reserve middle and corner infielders are easier to acquire at reasonable prices as free agents.

If anything, despite the uninterrupted home sellout crowds, Sox management should behave as though the economy will continue to struggle for a while. With ticket prices as they are at Fenway possibly hurting attendance in a soft economy and with other sources of revenue likely to fluctuate or diminish, this is not the time to take on any albatross contracts in any industry (even in the fantasy world of non-fantasy baseball). Not every top prospect will work out but the cost of giving all of these youngsters a chance is slight financially compared to the sunk costs for aging players on the downward slope of their careers (e.g. Lowell and Varitek). Only the Yankees don't need to care about this. The Sox will probably and necessarily operate (despite their recent financial success) more like FDR at the beginning of the New Deal or President-Elect Obama must at the start of his coming administration: by trial and error attempting new and creative solutions to difficult problems until you find what works. If there is money to spend, it's better directed to fair extensions for those "in their prime" players already on the team's roster than in expensive new acquisitions at top dollar.

#3 jtn46


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Posted 27 November 2008 - 12:56 PM

My immediate thought is that if the FO/ownership believes there's room in the payroll, it would be wise to go to players like Pedroia and Lester who are going to get tiny raises and offer them big ones in exchange for a couple FA years. I'm sure, though, that the front office likes having some wiggle room. It allows them to ignore payroll concerns at the deadline.

I think the interest in Teixeira is legit. The team didn't spend any money last offseason, and the payroll went down. If they don't spend money this offseason, it will go down again. They win, so they're getting away with it, but payroll numbers are too easy to come by for that trend to continue.

A potentially impending Teixeira contract aside, it's remarkable how good a job the FO has done keeping the roster free of prohibitive contracts. Drew's deal is probably the closest thing to an albatross we have.

Edited by jtn46, 27 November 2008 - 12:57 PM.


#4 philly sox fan


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Posted 03 December 2008 - 08:02 PM

bumped to include Tazawa and Pedroia's extension.

#5 Guest_Corsi Combover_*

Posted 09 December 2008 - 11:27 PM

Manny Delcarmen missed qualifying for arbitration by seven days. Two years ago, reliever Javier Lopez missed qualifying for arbitration by five days. One agent believes the Sox so precisely manage their roster that neither was a mistake.

Source: http://www.boston.co...agnant_mar.html

#6 philly sox fan


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Posted 29 December 2008 - 09:37 AM

bump for Penny/Bard.

#7 SoxFanPJ


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Posted 29 December 2008 - 12:27 PM

Looking over the Sox payroll situation (Thanks to Philly for crunching the numbers) I keep going back to this column by Peter Gammons. Because of the relative depth the team currently has and the lack of obvious upgrades available, I think we see the team leaving a lot of money in reserve for in-season salary dump acquisitions to address needs based on injury and under-performance. Given the current market, after loosing out on Teixeira that may be the best strategy available to the FO.

"I believe that the economy is going to have a much greater impact on the baseball industry than most of those people wandering the halls of the Bellagio realize," one general manager said. "I believe that if one manages one's payroll, there will be some very attractive, impactful players available come June and July because their teams have to deal with economic realities. So if some big-market teams lose out on certain players now, they can wait and add significantly during the season if they have the capital."

For instance, if Boston were to lose out on Teixeira, they can wait and see where David Ortiz and Mike Lowell are during spring training. Maybe Holliday, Magglio Ordonez, Rick Ankiel or Alex Rios will become a must-move cost. If the Mets can't get Derek Lowe on a three-year, $36 million deal, or if Oliver Perez gets too expensive, they can sign a Randy Wolf and wait to see whether a Dan Haren or Roy Oswalt becomes available by midseason....

"We are now basing all our economics on the past," said one general manager in Las Vegas, "without any way of knowing about the future. The Mets may not have been willing to trade Jon Niese for J.J. Putz, but Roy Oswalt? They will. The Red Sox may have refused to trade Michael Bowden for Miguel Montero, but you can be sure they will for Chris Iannetta. See me in July."


Gammons 12/13/08

#8 OCD SS


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Posted 29 December 2008 - 12:49 PM

I don't know, this column by Gammo seems to have been really embraced by a lot of Sox fans as a way to add talent, and it looks like a pipe dream to me. If the economy starts choking the club, teams are going to hold on to their cheap talent with a death grip. Similarly, I find it really unlikely that teams will trade away their good players on club friendly deals (like Harren and Rios).

What you'll likely see are more attempts to dump overpaid, older players like Helton, and I don't see how that will help the Sox that much unless they're trying to add a replacement piece (like they tried to do with Giles) after the waiver deadline. I don't think that actual "impact talent" is really going to be available this way. The best player who might fit this mold (despite it happening or other monetary reasons) is Peavy, but so far we haven't seen much to indicate the Sox are in on him.

#9 Joshv02

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 01:11 PM

I don't know, this column by Gammo seems to have been really embraced by a lot of Sox fans as a way to add talent, and it looks like a pipe dream to me. If the economy starts choking the club, teams are going to hold on to their cheap talent with a death grip. Similarly, I find it really unlikely that teams will trade away their good players on club friendly deals (like Harren and Rios).

What you'll likely see are more attempts to dump overpaid, older players like Helton, and I don't see how that will help the Sox that much unless they're trying to add a replacement piece (like they tried to do with Giles) after the waiver deadline. I don't think that actual "impact talent" is really going to be available this way. The best player who might fit this mold (despite it happening or other monetary reasons) is Peavy, but so far we haven't seen much to indicate the Sox are in on him.

I'll preface this by agreeing that I find it unlikely that this will happen. But, not for the reasons you state.

If there is a significant league wide contraction in revenue then, potentially*, then terms that are previously market rate (say, Peavy) will be above market rate as the market will have shifted. Players like Helton have a contract that is worse than market rate because the player's production has shifted. But if the $/marginal win that teams are willing to pay goes down, then players that were previously thought to be signed to OK deals will now look expensive. The only way to get rid of such players would be to take a haircut on the return compared to the return they would have received yesterday.

I don't think this will help the Sox much because teams haven't spent a lot on FAs this offseason thus far - not outside of NY at least. The KRod deal was basically flat from Lidge/Cordero (the extra year should be had at a discount). Since the Sox aren't alone in looking for cheaper talent today, they won't be alone in trying to gobble up the more expensive players of tomorrow.


*The reason this may not happen is that revenue increases have outpaced labor cost increases. So, teams may just be willing to have a lower return. But, I assume that teams will want eventually lower or at least flatten their labor costs.

#10 OCD SS


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Posted 29 December 2008 - 01:19 PM

I'll preface this by agreeing that I find it unlikely that this will happen. But, not for the reasons you state.


Actually, I think our ideas work perfectly well in parallel: you've (IMO) accurately described the financial mechanisms that would cause teams to follow the decision making path about who to keep and who to trade that I described.

#11 67WasBest


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Posted 29 December 2008 - 01:37 PM

I don't know, this column by Gammo seems to have been really embraced by a lot of Sox fans as a way to add talent, and it looks like a pipe dream to me. If the economy starts choking the club, teams are going to hold on to their cheap talent with a death grip. Similarly, I find it really unlikely that teams will trade away their good players on club friendly deals (like Harren and Rios).

What you'll likely see are more attempts to dump overpaid, older players like Helton, and I don't see how that will help the Sox that much unless they're trying to add a replacement piece (like they tried to do with Giles) after the waiver deadline. I don't think that actual "impact talent" is really going to be available this way. The best player who might fit this mold (despite it happening or other monetary reasons) is Peavy, but so far we haven't seen much to indicate the Sox are in on him.


I think it more likely teams will have to bundle real young talent with albatross contracts like Helton's to dump the deals. Who would take Helton straight up for a bag of used baseballs? Add Iannetta and I can at least see Theo considering the deal.

#12 yecul


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Posted 29 December 2008 - 02:33 PM

While a deal like that may happen down the road it's unlikely that they are "saving" for that to unfold.

Most likely they are more than happy to remain competitive while also decreasing payroll. They don't need to make a splash to entice fans nor do they need a big ticket player to be in the hunt. We can argue at the various degrees of what competitive means and their chances when it comes to the real goal of another Series, but this offseason was Teixeira (at their price) or bust.

Which is a good strategy. It makes little sense to spend for the sake of it. We fans might not like it. We see the team take a likely step back from the previous year as key parts of the team age and other young players look like they might not immediately compensate (Ellsbury, Buchholz for example). But it is far better to find cheaper/shorter term solutions than to ink a Matt Clement.

Brad Penny is more likely to be crappy than good getting shut down or released after 100 innings, but that's far better than getting the same from someone on a 3-4 year deal.

There's a reason you go big and long for younger talent when it becomes available. It is unfortunate that the Yankees seemed to have figured this out rather than going for the Sheffields of the world.

#13 OCD SS


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Posted 29 December 2008 - 03:45 PM

I think it more likely teams will have to bundle real young talent with albatross contracts like Helton's to dump the deals. Who would take Helton straight up for a bag of used baseballs? Add Iannetta and I can at least see Theo considering the deal.


I think this is the idea, but I don't see it working in practice. It might work form Theo's POV, but I don't think it does from the other team's.

In this example it would also mean that the Rockies would have to go out and find another catcher who would likely be both worse and more expensive than Ianetta after making the trade (and assuming they have a replacement for Helton). Similarly, if the Rockies are giving up Ianetta, they would probably want total salary relief from Helton's contract and wouldn't pay any of it. That would essentially make Ianetta a ~$55M player for 3 years before he even gets his own paychecks or the Sox send any talent back (nevermind what do they do with Helton). I think it's a lot more likely that the Rockies would just try to dump Helton while paying as little of the deal as possible and call it a day, without giving up young talent in a manner that would make them less competitive.

The only deal we've really seen like this was the Beckett deal, but I don't think Gammons is suggesting that there's anything close to the talent going the other way involved in his proposal.

#14 Trautwein's Degree


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Posted 29 December 2008 - 03:54 PM

I think it's a lot more likely that the Rockies would just try to dump Helton while paying as little of the deal as possible and call it a day, without giving up young talent in a manner that would make them less competitive.


What probably makes the most sense is that Helton gets swapped for a package of players like Lugo and Lowell.

Helton's contract is awful.

#15 The Boomer

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 04:05 PM

While a deal like that may happen down the road it's unlikely that they are "saving" for that to unfold.

Most likely they are more than happy to remain competitive while also decreasing payroll. They don't need to make a splash to entice fans nor do they need a big ticket player to be in the hunt. We can argue at the various degrees of what competitive means and their chances when it comes to the real goal of another Series, but this offseason was Teixeira (at their price) or bust.

Which is a good strategy. It makes little sense to spend for the sake of it. We fans might not like it. We see the team take a likely step back from the previous year as key parts of the team age and other young players look like they might not immediately compensate (Ellsbury, Buchholz for example). But it is far better to find cheaper/shorter term solutions than to ink a Matt Clement.

Brad Penny is more likely to be crappy than good getting shut down or released after 100 innings, but that's far better than getting the same from someone on a 3-4 year deal.

There's a reason you go big and long for younger talent when it becomes available. It is unfortunate that the Yankees seemed to have figured this out rather than going for the Sheffields of the world.


Last year, for close to $20 million, they made it to game 7 of the ALCS with limited or no meaningful contributions from Varitek, Cash, Schilling and Colon. This year, for $6.5 and counting, they will get unpredictable (with projectible upside) contributions from Bard, Penny and Varitek (or his Replacement TBNL). Depending on what it will cost for their 2009 regular catcher, they will save millions from what they spent last season on relatively unproductive players for either similar unproductiveness from their replacements (worst case) or, hopefully, for improved production. Even if Bard and Penny get cut during the spring or early next season, what it costs to gamble on the possibility that either or both of them can make comebacks (while arguably still in their primes) makes sense. Schilling, Colon and Varitek were all injured, aging and near the end of their careers. Cash was relatively young and good defensively but a predictably poor hitter. Penny and Bard might be near the end of their careers but are at ages that make it reasonably likely that either or both could potentially make comebacks. It's not just how much you spend, but how you spend it. These small but seemingly cost effective moves make sense from that perspective.

#16 amh03


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Posted 29 December 2008 - 04:10 PM

Great info in this thread - thanks Philly for keeping track of all of those numbers.

Just a casual observation (no hard facts to back this up), but regarding the possible impact of the declining economy - I do not remember there being tickets left over after the Christmas at Fenway event. In past years, I thought, all of those tickets were sold out on the Saturday of the weekend event. They used to host a 2-day thing but it shrunk to 1-day when tickets sold so quickly.

This year, not only were there tickets available on the Monday afterwards (when they held the Yard Sale event), but there are still tickets available (although today, there was a notice that the online purchasing system was down until 1/1/09 due to maintenance).

Now maybe they're making more available? I'm not sure. Does anyone else think demand might be softening?

#17 IpswichSox

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 07:03 PM

Now maybe they're making more available? I'm not sure. Does anyone else think demand might be softening?

There were plenty of stories online about home playoff tickets last year going unclaimed or being resold "only" for face value. I had a friend who put two Loge Box tickets to about 10 games (MFY early in the season, Royals, Bue Jays and Rays midseason, and Indians at the end of September) on StubHub. At first he was trying to get way over face, kept lowering the price and eventually either pulled the tickets or sold them below face (to some, that's justice considering we've been "victims" of scalpers' jacked up prices for years). Anyway, that's anecdotal but consistent with MSM reports that even last year's playoff tickets were no longer commanding some multiple of face value. (Since the Sox had a pretty good year last year, one assumes the cause is the economy and not the lack of interest in the team.)

#18 philly sox fan


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Posted 11 January 2009 - 09:07 AM

bump for Smoltz/Baldelli, Kotsay and Saito

#19 Plympton91


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Posted 11 January 2009 - 09:46 AM

Saito completes the pen in that their are now seven good pitchers with guaranteed contracts or in the case of the younger pitchers (MDC, Masterson) deserving of roles in the pen. I'm not sure it completes the pen in terms of having a potential 3-4 inning guy available unless they intend to reserve Masterson for that low leverage insurance role which seems odd given his high leverage usage last year.


I'm pretty sure that last year a newspaper quoted Terry Francona saying that he doesn't believe in reserving a pitcher for such a role. His argument was that in those situations you use a couple guys for two innings each and it doesn't hamstring you as much as you think the next day.

That reasoning makes sense to me, because if you're getting blown out early, then you simply use the rest of the game to get everybody some work. Plus, those who come in and work two innings can be your lowest leverage people who you won't mind missing the next day. With the quality of the team's rotation, it's unlikely that you'd get back-to-back blowups.

They've built a very good and very deep bullpen; If Saito is healthy, Delcarmen is the 5th righthander out of the pen -- Papelbon, Saito, Masterson, Ramirez, Delcarmen. The rotation is very good but very fragile, which is still very worrisome to me.

Edited by Plympton91, 11 January 2009 - 09:48 AM.


#20 The Boomer

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 12:27 PM

Thanks, Philly. Great job! The beauty of those incentive laden contracts is that, if most or all of them work out, then all the preceived deficits in the roster will be taken care of from within. If, on the other hand, most or all of the incentive contracts turn into busts, they still have financial flexibility to try Plans B and C to find solutions without when the need arises.

#21 SoxFanSince57


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Posted 11 January 2009 - 12:40 PM

A little something from Theo that underscores/reinforces how the economy is influencing the team's recent signings.

“Uncertainty surrounding the economy is a factor in our strategy to a certain extent,” said Epstein, who earlier in the day said he had spoken with some “very smart people” who thought baseball could be hit “very hard” in ticket sales and revenue streams. “If there is the possibility of a real downturn, it makes sense to keep our commitments as short as possible and as small as possible.”

http://www.bostonher...-year_contract/

#22 Hairps

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 01:29 PM

A little something from Theo that underscores/reinforces how the economy is influencing the team's recent signings.
http://www.bostonher...-year_contract/

I think this is exactly right, and the consequences go beyond just opting for shorter-term contracts this off-season (though I wonder what Theo would have said if the Sox were successful in landing Teixeira). If/when the economic downturn hits the balance sheets of MLB, I think it's likely we'll see more high-priced players made available via trade. Given our current payroll flexibility, financial leverage (in a negotiating sense, not in the finance definition of "leverage"), and organizational depth, the Sox should be in a position to benefit.

#23 sox junky

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 02:31 PM

Nice work Philly. I think some of the arbitration estimates are a bit high, but I notice you mentioned that you're shooting for the high range.

One possible correction: I believe Okajima's AAV is 1.75 million since he's on his 1 year club option. That's treated as a 1 year contract for AAV purposes IIRC.

#24 philly sox fan


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Posted 17 January 2009 - 09:04 AM

bumped for Youkilis' contract.

#25 philly sox fan


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Posted 20 January 2009 - 09:37 PM

one more bump for Pabelbon and Lopez.

#26 philly sox fan


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Posted 04 February 2009 - 09:01 AM

bump for Varitek

#27 philly sox fan


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Posted 04 February 2009 - 09:19 AM

Oh and since I have the spreadsheet open, how about this comparison.

Rotoworld reporrted today that Garret Atkins settled his arbitration case for 7.05M despite a pretty big decrease in offensive produciton. He's never been much of a fielder. This is his second year of arbitration eligibility.

Youkilis, fresh of finishing 3rd in the MVP, will make 6.25M this year (also his second arb year) as part of his long term deal.

Pedroia, who won the MVP, will make 5.75M in what will be his second year of arb eligibility in 2011 (when hopefully the economy is goosing salaries back up).

Both players actually play defense and are vastly superior.

Eh, let's quantify that with FanGraphs Win Values.

Atkins (last 3 years): 5.5, 1.7, 0.4 (UZR really kills him, didn't realize it would be that low)
Youkilis: 2.2, 3.8, 5.5
Pedroia: 3.7, 6.5

So even if Youk and Pedroia regress back to their 2007 levels they are very good 3-4 win players. Atkins would probably be lucky to bounce back to 2 wins at this point.

Yup, those were very good deals for the Sox.

#28 mjswarner

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Posted 04 February 2009 - 06:01 PM

Rotation: 34.59M
Bullpen: 14.67M
Regulars: 66.145
Reserves: 12.6M

Total: 128.005M

For comparison's sake, the 2009 projected payrolls for the other top spending teams around the league (in order of 2008 payroll size):

Yankees: 209.850M (2008 209.081M)
Mets: 142.542M (2008 137.793M)
Detroit: 126.600M (2008 137.685M)
Boston: 128.005M (2008 133.390M)
White Sox: ~97.500M (2008 121.189M)
Angels: ~113.500M (2008 119.216M)
Dodgers: 74.640M (2008 118.588M)
Cubs: 137.145M (2008 118.345M)
Seattle: ~95.000M (2008 117.666M)

Everybody but the NY teams and Cubs shed payroll. Boston will likely remain the fourth highest payroll in baseball in 2009.

#29 paulie102704

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 09:19 AM

I read somewhere that Philly could very well go over $130M after the Howard arbitration gets sorted out. I am loving the flexibility the Sox have built in to add payroll when teams start purging bloated contracts.

#30 TheRooster

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 10:51 AM

For comparison's sake, the 2009 projected payrolls for the other top spending teams around the league (in order of 2008 payroll size):

Yankees: 209.850M (2008 209.081M)
Mets: 142.542M (2008 137.793M)
Detroit: 126.600M (2008 137.685M)
Boston: 128.005M (2008 133.390M)
White Sox: ~97.500M (2008 121.189M)
Angels: ~113.500M (2008 119.216M)
Dodgers: 74.640M (2008 118.588M)
Cubs: 137.145M (2008 118.345M)
Seattle: ~95.000M (2008 117.666M)

Everybody but the NY teams and Cubs shed payroll. Boston will likely remain the fourth highest payroll in baseball in 2009.


That Dodgers number is amazing when you consider their attendance. Of course if you pencil in 25M for Manny they jump, but that would still leave them 28M less than the Red Sox and 110M less than the MFY.

#31 maufman


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Posted 05 February 2009 - 12:14 PM

For comparison's sake, the 2009 projected payrolls for the other top spending teams around the league (in order of 2008 payroll size):

Yankees: 209.850M (2008 209.081M)
Mets: 142.542M (2008 137.793M)
Detroit: 126.600M (2008 137.685M)
Boston: 128.005M (2008 133.390M)
White Sox: ~97.500M (2008 121.189M)
Angels: ~113.500M (2008 119.216M)
Dodgers: 74.640M (2008 118.588M)
Cubs: 137.145M (2008 118.345M)
Seattle: ~95.000M (2008 117.666M)

Everybody but the NY teams and Cubs shed payroll. Boston will likely remain the fourth highest payroll in baseball in 2009.

All posturing aside, the Dodgers remain Manny's most likely destination.

The Chisox appear to be the most logical landing place for Adam Dunn. They have a wide-open window that is going to slam shut in 2 years. On paper, they have their LF/RF/1B/DH filled, but the odds of Jim Thome, Jermaine Dye, Paul Konerko and Carlos Quentin all being injury-free and effective are practically nil. A 3-year deal with Adam Dunn would make eminent sense-- they could guarantee Dunn 500 PAs in 2009 and a full-time gig in 2010-11, playing either LF or DH (depending on which of Dunn and Quentin is the bigger butcher afield). The Chisox also could pursue Manny, but the dollars, distractions and draft-pick compensation probably make Dunn a more attractive target.

If the White Sox stand pat, they'll compete with the Red Sox for talent that becomes available midseason when clubs become crunched for cash.

#32 philly sox fan


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Posted 24 March 2009 - 10:06 AM

One more bump for Lester and Kottaras.