Lou Merloni: Mookie asking price is 12 years, $420 million.

Would you give Mookie a 12 years, $420 million contract?

  • Yes

  • No


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Max Power

thai good. you like shirt?
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2005
4,169
Boston, MA
It sucks as a fan of a large market team (and season ticket holder who stands to lose a ton of money this year) but doesn't the fact that teams feel they have to reset their tax penalties every couple years mean the CBT is working? It's billed as a competitive balance tax and making it impossible for anyone to spend without limit and assemble a super team helps to maintain balance.

It would just be nice if something were done at the lower end as well as the upper end. Tanking a season should be should be just as painful for a team as spending without limits.
 

CarolinaBeerGuy

Don't know him from Adam
SoSH Member
Mar 14, 2006
5,669
Kernersville, NC
It sucks as a fan of a large market team (and season ticket holder who stands to lose a ton of money this year) but doesn't the fact that teams feel they have to reset their tax penalties every couple years mean the CBT is working? It's billed as a competitive balance tax and making it impossible for anyone to spend without limit and assemble a super team helps to maintain balance.

It would just be nice if something were done at the lower end as well as the upper end. Tanking a season should be should be just as painful for a team as spending without limits.
I agree with all of this. There should absolutely be a salary floor with significant penalties for not spending. I hope the next CBA addresses this.

EDIT: I was fine without a "cap", but there needs to be a floor if one is in place.
 

Plympton91

bubble burster
SoSH Member
Oct 19, 2008
12,408
Since the popular narrative of 'They won't pay Mookie his money, but they gave stupid deals to Sale and Eovaldi' is rapidly becoming accepted wisdom among a majority of Sox fans, it’s worth exploring what an alternate history might have looked like.

First, we have to consider the issue of resetting the luxury tax. Some folks do believe that this is a red herring and that John Henry the billionaire should not let artificial limits like this one inhibit his spending. I believe that there is a valid argument that the Red Sox are best served by being a well-run organization, which can mean a. Not giving out $150 million deals to pitchers with injury concerns, while also b. Periodically get the payroll below the threshold (as the Yankees and Dodgers have successfully done) to remove taxes that effectively make every contract they sign more expensive, as well as restrictions that harm their ability to replenish talent through the draft and international player system.

So, in our alternate world, the Red Sox and Mookie’s agents hammered out a deal in early 2019. Let’s say they end up past the midpoint of the reported deals a little closer to Team Mookie’s side, signing a 12 year, $384 million contract. This pays Betts for luxury tax purposes $32 million per year.

In this new timeline, the Red Sox do not sign Nathan Eovaldi to a 4/$68 contract, nor do they extend Chris Sale in 2019. They blew past last season’s actual luxury tax threshold by $35 million, so foregoing Eovaldi doesn’t come close to resetting the tax last year, nor does, say, refusing to sign 2018 postseason hero Steve Pearce to his $6 million deal. There is no way the Sox realistically could have reset the tax in 2019, nor would it have been a good look to do so coming off a record year. How Dave Dombrowski replaced Eovaldi in the rotation can only be guessed at, of course - maybe finds the right guy to sign on a one or two-year make-good deal, but it’s hard to imagine that a 12-win gap with Oakland would have been made up.

(One can also imagine that word eventually gets out that ownership is tying DD’s hands in a desire to get under the cap, which probably evokes a minor sh*tshow in the Boston media about how those cheap owners are failing to take advantage of a championship window.)

Now it’s 2020. Having let an injured Chris Sale walk as well as a theoretical Eovaldi one-year replacement, the Sox drop below the $208 million luxury tax by around $12 million (assuming that no new long-term deals were agreed to beyond those we know of like the Bogaerts extension, etc.). The team now has three rotation spots to fill (including Rick Porcello), so maybe they do spend and wait until 2021 to reset. Now we’re at approximately $150 million compared to a $210 million tax threshold, again before any of those new salary commitments are added. At some point though, you are still looking at having to eventually fill three rotation spots and (after 2020) a full-time outfielder (replacing JBJ), plus presumably spending some money along the way to bring in reinforcements to the bullpen. If the team spends to fill those needs to stay in contention and push the resetting to 2022 or beyond, the player development system is hampered to a greater and greater extent, likely leading to a severe dropoff at some point absent ever higher levels of payroll (and CBT penalties paid).

I believe what this exercise shows is that there is not an easy solution - paying Mookie what he ‘deserves’ and keeping him in Boston for another decade (assuming that he’d agree to) would present major challenges in maximizing the window of championship contention during 2019-2021, assuming that John Henry does require his President/GM to reset the tax threshold at some point. It’s hard to see the Red Sox signing a true ace to head up the rotation to replace Sale or signing top relief pitchers to shore up the bullpen during this time period. In my opinion, I don’t think avoiding the Sale and Eovaldi deals mean that we’d have Mookie long-term *and* a no-doubt, top-tier contender right now - the die was largely cast by Dombrowski in building the 2016-18 team.
This is well written and nice job thinking through everything, but they would be under the CBT for 2020 if they’d just let Sale become a free agent after 2019 instead of resigning him. And then nontendered Bradley.
 

Dewey'sCannon

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
693
Maryland
I doubt we'll see the Competitive Balance Tax removed entirely. But there are several ways in which it could be revised in the next CBA:

1. It seems as though the draft pick penalties are more of a concern for teams than the money, at least judging by what teams say publicly (although there may be an aspect of BS to that). So maybe the draft pick penalties are eliminated, or reduced, or modified in some way - such as by providing some type of exception or exemption when teams re-sign their own FAs as opposed to FAs from other teams (a baseball version of the Byrd exception).

2. On the flip side, if there's going to be a "soft cap" then there should also be a "soft floor" as well. The distribution of the CBT funds, or maybe even some of the more basic revenue sharing, should be contingent on the low revenue receiving teams actually spending this money on player salaries. So if they don't spend above the low-end threshold, they don't get that money, and the funds get distributed to players in some other form (pro rata distribution to all players, or just to all players who haven't been eligible for free agency, or to non-arb-eligibles, or by adding these funds to health or retirement benefits, etc.). Forcing some of these otherwise bad/tanking teams to spend a little on some players would seem to promote the supposed goal of "competitive balance," as well as improve the product on the field for fans of those teams. A 70-75 win team isn't close to making the playoffs, but it's a hell of a lot more competitive, and a lot more watchable, than a 60 win team. Those 10 wins can really make a difference. No team (except maybe an expansion team) should be going into the season expecting to lose 100 games.
 

David Kaiser

Member
SoSH Member
Feb 13, 2017
28
Well, this morning Dan Shaughnessy (who effectively endorsed trading Betts some months ago when he compared him to Fred Lynn) and Peter Abraham finally saw the light, much too late, about Betts. I don't know if they could have stopped the trade but I wish they had tried harder.
My point about Bloom is this. Tampa Bay and Oakland have proven that if you know what you are doing you can keep significantly below average players off your roster and replace them with average ones at low cost. That is something the Red Sox have consistently failed to do--even in 2018 they lost a number of games at second base and behind the plate, and Jackie Bradley has been consistently below average over all as well. I wanted to see if he could do that here, while maintaining a high quality nucleus of Betts, Bogaerts, Devers, and perhaps Benintendi (who disappointed last year.) Instead we appear to be keeping Bradley while Betts is let go. Sayonara, dynasty.
By the way, on another front, I was delighted to see that Bogaerts is working on his defense in Florida. It's a big problem. He improved to average in 2018 but he was well below average last year, and that took away a good deal of his positive value.
 

Rovin Romine

Johnny Rico
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 14, 2005
10,952
Miami (oh, Miami!)
Well, this morning Dan Shaughnessy (who effectively endorsed trading Betts some months ago when he compared him to Fred Lynn) and Peter Abraham finally saw the light, much too late, about Betts. I don't know if they could have stopped the trade but I wish they had tried harder.
Who are these people?