Second, I don't think completely taken by surprise is really an exaggeration. Here's the thing. Carl Crawford was terrible last year. Really really bad. Worse than the LF brigade of 2010 which was pretty bad. And it still took an epic slow start and epic bad finish for them to miss the playoffs by one game. Point being, he was a luxury item at the time of his signing and I think we all knew it then and the season proved that he was.
The last sentence doesn't follow from the other ones. Production is production, whether it comes from the pitcher or the left fielder. The fact that they overcame Crawford's bad season doesn't mean anything other than the fact that they had enough good players to overcome a massive underperformance by one of them. That's a plus. If Crawford had been his usual self, the Sox would have made the playoffs, which, ostensibly, is the point of putting a roster together.
If you want to fault the ownership for not seeing that Crawford would fall off a cliff, we can have that conversation, but I think that's been discussed ad nauseum.
So why commit 13% (it should decline as CBT increases) of the CBT figure for the foreseeable future to one guy that you don't need? I mean, in the long run the Lackey contract I think is going to be worse in terms of value but at least you could argue that they needed a starter. They didn't really need a LF other than a warm body. That leaves me in one of two places.
I really don't understand this "they don't need a LF" mentality. Why not? Why is left field a luxury position any more than third or fourth starter is? Which positions are considered luxuries, anyway?
I could say similar things about Gonzalez.
This I disagree with strongly. You have to get talent on the field, and he's one of the best first basemen in the game. He's the sort of guy where you make concessions elsewhere in the field to get him in the lineup. The Sox don't get points for frugality - the talent has be on the team somewhere, and I'm not really sure how the Sox could rededicate the money given to him to make themselves a better team.
I guess I'm just not understanding how the Sox really hamstrung themselves. They have enough money to sign a decent RF, a good enough SS tandem, and a 4-starter on a short contract. In future years, they'll have more money to play with once Matsuzaka comes of the books, and they won't have many holes. If they haven't done anything that really causes a problem for the team, what are we "blaming" them for, exactly? Their management of the cap doesn't have to be efficient or pretty as long as it produces a good team. John Henry may not have read the tea leaves well enough put the Sox in perfect position, but if they're in good enough position that they should be a formidable team for the next several years, what's the difference?
Fifteen (actually, fourteen until the A's get a new stadium) teams no longer receive any revenue sharing monies. They're the teams with the largest markets: the Yankees, Mets, Dodgers, Angels, Cubs, White Sox, Phillies, Red Sox, Rangers, Braves, Nationals, Blue Jays, Astros, and Giants (and A's if they get a new stadium in San Jose) . That's where the extra money is coming from for these rebates.
I think this is something we don't know. It's also completely possible that the Revenue Sharing pool is decreased when teams get a rebate. In fact, the more I think of it, this is something the Red Sox might have even asked for. John Henry has been complaining about the Revenue Sharing system for years.
I keep hearing about this new interpretation of the rules as a salary cap. Am I the only one who thinks this is nuts?
Teams already have to pay into revenue sharing, what we're talking about is getting money back in the form of a rebate, down the road. If there is more incentive to get under the cap it's because ownership has decided to prioritize revenues (in the form of a rebate) over spending what they feel they need to to put the best team on the field, even if it means a CBT payment of ~$5M. In the Sox case this means jettisoning a valuable starting SS in order to add an OFer and stating pitcher.
Actually, unless the formulas for who contributes how much have changed, the Sox now get back less in revenue sharing (actually, none) than before, so MLB is actually taking more money from them initially and then offering some of it back eventually. Still doesn't change that it's an economic decision by HWL, but it does put the decision in a different light. The bottom line, though, is that the marginal cost of going one dollar over the cap is about $20 million, which is huge.
Edited by cannonball 1729, 25 January 2012 - 02:27 AM.