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:
Actual cash outlay is several million less than that.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.