The Shed: potential trade destinations for high-priced Sox players.

nvalvo

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John Henry, Sam Kennedy and other Red Sox brass have equivocated somewhat as to the budget new Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom will have to assemble a 2020 roster. After initially suggesting they wanted to see payroll down below the $208m CBT threshold — some $30m below the 2019 figure — they later clarified that that was a "goal, not a mandate."

I'm not sure I buy that they are actually going to try to do this. It seems pretty stupid to me, frankly, to prefer to spend ~$200m on a badly flawed roster than to spend a few dozen millions more, even with the tax and draft penalties, on a contender, when we're so close (health permitting) to real contention, with all the financial rewards it can bring (and returns in an exciting season for us!). The people who run the team are pretty smart, so while they might have their reasons for talking about getting under the cap, I guess I'll believe that that is their intention when I see it.

(If, on the other hand, they wanted to trade a ton of people and start a complete rebuild, I would deem that premature, but defensible.)

But is it even possible? Now that JD Martínez has opted in, it appears likely that the budget is already considerably above the $208 level, once arbitration awards are accounted for, and that is for a roster that presently lacks an obvious fifth starter, second baseman, and first baseman, and probably could use more pitching depth writ large — although there are certainly in-house candidates for all those roles. [Cots contracts spreadsheet]

But it seems likely that if the team does in fact aim to get below that number, they will need to deal from their stock of high-priced talent. Right now we're discussing a number of these trades in other threads, but I thought it might be interesting to talk out some of those ideas in here. Not to teach my grandmother how to suck eggs, but if mods wanted to move some of the pre-existing discussions — including some I started — that are clogging up other threads in here, that might make some sense. I figured we needed some more threads.

I'm interested in particular in how much surplus value (if any) people think these contracts have, and which teams might be interested in acquiring them, and what kind of package we might be able to get in return. A few candidates to get us started:
  • Price likely has little surplus value, and perhaps a somewhat negative value.
    • AAV $31m
    • I don't think the numbers support the views of those posters who think his contract is heavily underwater, but a trade involving Price would likely be a straight salary dump, with perhaps an A ball reliever coming back.
    • While I could imagine a range of contenders being interested in his services, I would expect very little in return unless the Sox paid some of his freight.
    • That said, sending money in a deal would likely only make sense in a total rebuild.
  • Betts, in contrast, has considerable value, even on a one-year deal.
    • AAV TBD, but likely ~$27m
    • He has been "worth" (in Fangraphs' calculations) an average of $61m per season the last four years, so his $27m payroll doesn't come close to exhausting his production.
    • That difference should return a prospect in the middle third of the top 100 list.
    • Personally, I wouldn't trade him, even if he declines an extension. The delta in value between what we could expect back (unless I'm very wrong) and the 4th round pick we'd get in compensation if we *fail* to sign him in FA is worth less than the positive value of a season of Mookie Betts at $27m.
  • JD Martinez also has considerable value on paper, but it is complicated by a number of factors.
    • AAV $23.8m, lower after next year due to a technicality.
    • On the positive side, since his breakout, he's been worth an average of $32m a season, and he's paid ~$10m less than that.
    • But the opt-outs make it hard for a team to know how many seasons they're buying, and his abysmal defense means only AL teams with openings at DH should be interested.
    • Rumor has it that the White Sox might be curious, and I think he would make a lot of sense for them. I would pursue that if we need to get our payroll down.
    • A JDM-Nelson Cruz swap with Minnesota is another possibility.
    • The emergence of Devers and Bogaerts as elite power threats makes JDM less crucial to the roster in 2020 than he was in 2018.
  • JBJ is probably going to get an arb award around $10m.
    • AAV TBD, likely ~$10m.
    • Fangraphs has his value at $11m for 2019, but he's a tough one to project. He's a lock to give you a positive WAR just on the basis of his excellent defense, and in his better offensive seasons he can be much more valuable than that.
    • The Mets and Phillies should be very interested, as they are allegedly contending, but lack a strong CF situation. I could also imagine
    • It was interesting to see him post a lower AVG, higher SLG season in 2019 with a low BABIP; I am bullish on his 2020 and would keep him if we possibly can.
    • It seems to me that responding to a disappointing season from your pitching staff by making your OF defense worse might be misguided.
Your thoughts? Who else should we think about trading?
 

jon abbey

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A JDM-Nelson Cruz swap with Minnesota is another possibility.
Sorry to nitpick that very thorough post, but what? Both guys are pretty much DH only, Cruz makes $12M to JDM's $23.5M, Cruz was better last year (OPS+ of 166 to JD's 140), and that's not even factoring in the risk of JD suffering a career ending injury and his team being stuck with the remaining 2/39 for 2021-22.
 

sean1562

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JBJ has pretty much had the same season the last three years, offensively. I am not going to get bent out of shape if they decide to trade him and get a more reliable offensive player for the OF. In a season where everybody was cranking HRs out of the park, JBJ raised his SLG a whopping .018 points. I dont think he is worth $10 mil and wouldnt be too heartbroken if we finally just moved on.

Cruz for JDM makes no sense has abbey has already posited. JDM is way more expensive and doesnt offer substantially more, except maybe a longer payroll commitment. I cant see any team but the CWS trading for him.

Realistically, I think we trade JBJ and hold on to everybody else. If we are hovering around 3rd place in the division around the deadline, just trade who you can for what you can. But if Price/Sale perform to the point they have trade value, I dont think we will be in any position to be selling. I think 2018 is probably Eovaldi's ceiling which can be a useful 5th starter.
 

rhswanzey

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  • Price likely has little surplus value, and perhaps a somewhat negative value.
    • AAV $31m
    • I don't think the numbers support the views of those posters who think his contract is heavily underwater, but a trade involving Price would likely be a straight salary dump, with perhaps an A ball reliever coming back.
    • While I could imagine a range of contenders being interested in his services, I would expect very little in return unless the Sox paid some of his freight.
    • That said, sending money in a deal would likely only make sense in a total rebuild.
Obviously the talent return in this example was much higher than you're suggesting would come back for Price - but it's worth pointing out Arizona is paying about a third of Greinke's salary in Houston. I think teams pay $30m for a pitcher if it's Cole or Strasburg, and Price is not perceived to be in this tier, at least after 2019. I think this team would have a very hard time moving that contract without paying a third of it. WAR/AAV isn't linear - I think you pick Cole at 35 over Price at 32 every time. Wouldn't most teams?
 

sean1562

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Obviously the talent return in this example was much higher than you're suggesting would come back for Price - but it's worth pointing out Arizona is paying about a third of Greinke's salary in Houston. I think teams pay $30m for a pitcher if it's Cole or Strasburg, and Price is not perceived to be in this tier, at least after 2019. I think this team would have a very hard time moving that contract without paying a third of it. WAR/AAV isn't linear - I think you pick Cole at 35 over Price at 32 every time. Wouldn't most teams?
yea the current FA starter crop really isnt terrible. I think a lot of teams would pick the top 4 over Price(Wheeler, Stras, Cole, Bumgarner). Ryu is also a FA and would be preferable to Price at that cost. And then you still have Rich Hill, Keuchel, Hamels, Pineda, Odorizzi, and Teheran hanging around. I understand a lot of those guys arent top tier, but they wont be getting close to top tier money either. There arent many teams out there that are one starting pitcher away from going from also-rans to contenders, and the teams that may benefit from that would be gunning for the big guys. Wheeler is particularly more attractive considering he probably gets what, what Eovaldi got last offseason?
 

nvalvo

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JBJ has pretty much had the same season the last three years, offensively. I am not going to get bent out of shape if they decide to trade him and get a more reliable offensive player for the OF. In a season where everybody was cranking HRs out of the park, JBJ raised his SLG a whopping .018 points. I dont think he is worth $10 mil and wouldnt be too heartbroken if we finally just moved on.

Cruz for JDM makes no sense has abbey has already posited. JDM is way more expensive and doesnt offer substantially more, except maybe a longer payroll commitment. I cant see any team but the CWS trading for him.

Realistically, I think we trade JBJ and hold on to everybody else. If we are hovering around 3rd place in the division around the deadline, just trade who you can for what you can. But if Price/Sale perform to the point they have trade value, I dont think we will be in any position to be selling. I think 2018 is probably Eovaldi's ceiling which can be a useful 5th starter.
How does this make sense, though?

It doesn't save enough money. Dealing Bradley gets us down to something like $212m — still over the $208m line management says they want to get under — and that means letting some combination of Marco, Chavis, Lin and Dalbec take 1B and 2B, and having Brian Johnson, Hector Velazquez, Mike Shawaryn and Tanner Houck compete for the fifth rotation spot in Spring Training.

If we're trying to get under, we need to trade a lot more than Bradley. If we're not trying to get under, why not keep Bradley?
 

nattysez

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If you're trying to clear salary, isn't Sale the best candidate? He is the player least likely to give you a return on your investment in the coming years. Assuming that Dr. Andrews will tell teams that he expects Sale to be healthy for the season, he may intrigue teams who think he can still be an ace. You cannot get great value for Sale, but at this point I think the risk of keeping Sale far outweighs the potential benefits of keeping him.

Also, the Sox should consider taking on bad short-term salaries (Shin-Soo Choo, Jordan Zimmermann, etc.) as part of a deal for Price or Sale. If the player doesn't work out you can cut him, but at least there's some potential for upside as opposed to just trading away money.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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He has been "worth" (in Fangraphs' calculations) an average of $61m per season the last four years, so his $27m payroll doesn't come close to exhausting his production.
First, I admit I really don't understand what "worth" means... in relation to what? fWAR?
This entire "worth" system... has to be recalculated. There has to be some better way to make this ridiculous number fit into an average team's average roster salary per year. He might be "worth" that number in a vaccuum, but obviously there's not one team in baseball that can pay that and also put a competitive roster of actual ML players. Whenever I see numbers of a players "worth" or "value" per season put into dollar amounts it never makes sense in the context of him on a roster of other players.
 

Devizier

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First, I admit I really don't understand what "worth" means... in relation to what? fWAR?
This entire "worth" system... has to be recalculated. There has to be some better way to make this ridiculous number fit into an average team's average roster salary per year. He might be "worth" that number in a vaccuum, but obviously there's not one team in baseball that can pay that and also put a competitive roster of actual ML players. Whenever I see numbers of a players "worth" or "value" per season put into dollar amounts it never makes sense in the context of him on a roster of other players.
“Worth” is meaningless because it’s backwards looking and discounts risk, which is the reason why these guys don’t get billion dollar contracts. They often get hurt (especially pitchers).
 

Tyrone Biggums

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Depends how nuts ownership wants to get. The instant backlash from the original press conference a few weeks back might force them to rethink slashing payroll. But if I had to think about potential destinations I'd probably look at it like this.

Betts: ATL, NYM, LAD, LAA, OAK, STL

Price: STL, HOU, TX, LAD, LAA, PHI, SD, WAS (more or less using the Cole and Strasburg market minus NYY and adding Philly)

JD: CHW then it gets a little tricky. Maybe Cleveland? At this point you'd have to look at him as strictly a DH and limit to AL teams.

JBJ: all of the Betts suitors plus teams like Colorado and SD that might not be able to afford Betts but feel like JBJ still has untapped talent with his bat.

These are the four I can see moved. Now you could probably still find a taker for Eovaldi but not without eating some contract. Perhaps Texas?

Looking at things JDs market is very limited despite his bat being MVP level. I can't see LAA cutting Pujols and eating that money leaving Chicago and maybe Cleveland as the only realistic suitors. I also can't see any NL teams putting JD in the outfield. Then again he hasn't been terrible out there and the Cubs use Kyle Schwarber on a regular basis.

Price actually should have a solid market for teams that miss out on Cole. He has 3 years left and should be semi easy to move. If he was on the market right now he probably doesn't get 3/90 however its not far fetched to believe he'd get 3/80. All it takes is one team.

Betts has been covered to death.

JBJ needs to go to a team that values defense and feels like he's Dwight Evans part 2. A guy who put it together offensively after his mid 20s to go with elite defense.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
As far as I can tell by plugging in arbitration projections to the Cot's spreadsheet, the Sox are currently on the hook for about $220M-$225M towards the LT, depending on how much they pay pre-arb guys like Devers.

This includes the assumption that they will retain and pay Leon (projected $2.9MM). Non-tendering Leon gets them $3M closer to their goal, though it appears to mean making Jake Romanski their backup catcher, which in turn means praying like maniacs that Vazquez can start 140 games.

If this is correct, getting under $208M means shedding between $15M and $20M of payroll. In which case the answer may be as simple as finding a new home for JDM.

If you're trying to clear salary, isn't Sale the best candidate? He is the player least likely to give you a return on your investment in the coming years. Assuming that Dr. Andrews will tell teams that he expects Sale to be healthy for the season, he may intrigue teams who think he can still be an ace. You cannot get great value for Sale, but at this point I think the risk of keeping Sale far outweighs the potential benefits of keeping him.
The problem with this, I think, is that the more likely a franchise is to have the financial resources to think of taking on a contract like Sale's, the more likely they also are to have the cognitive resources to realize why that's the contract we want them to take, and therefore to pass. The most promising trade candidates are guys who are paid a hefty enough chunk of change for their departure to be helpful in the Sox' current situation, but who are also, on the whole, a good bet to earn that money or at least come close. JBJ and JDM fit the bill. Edro does too, but he's actually likely to earn more than he's paid, and anyway the Sox aren't in a position to treat healthy starting pitchers as disposable assets. Losing a DH or a CF wouldn't hurt quite as much.
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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If you're trying to clear salary, isn't Sale the best candidate? He is the player least likely to give you a return on your investment in the coming years. Assuming that Dr. Andrews will tell teams that he expects Sale to be healthy for the season, he may intrigue teams who think he can still be an ace. You cannot get great value for Sale, but at this point I think the risk of keeping Sale far outweighs the potential benefits of keeping him.

Also, the Sox should consider taking on bad short-term salaries (Shin-Soo Choo, Jordan Zimmermann, etc.) as part of a deal for Price or Sale. If the player doesn't work out you can cut him, but at least there's some potential for upside as opposed to just trading away money.
The problem with Andrews saying Sale is healthy to start the season doesn't mean he's going to be effective or worth the money he's getting paid. Sale was healthy much of last year (started off with a toe injury that was kept hidden and clearly affected his abilities from start to start) but would go from striking out 17 guys in 8 innings to giving up 5 walks in his first two innings and being out of the game by the 5th due to pitch count. You never knew what you were going to get. And when he did go to see Andrews, he was told he was fine but still shut down any way. These are massive red flags to any organization that would be interested in taking on that big of a commitment and his salary, year to year, is also a deterrent to all but a select few teams that might have the payroll flexibility to take him on. I would love for them to deal away Sale if there was a way to know that he's basically going to be Jekyll and Hyde the rest of the way due to his lingering arm issues but I would also love Boston to keep him if he can bounce back to his pre-2019 form (though, honestly, dealing him away as an ace caliber pitcher would bring the biggest return out of everybody on their roster, even if his contract is partially subsidized). I don't have confidence in him and see him as a liability as time goes on, a guy who can dominate in mid-season but always limps to the finish and is usually slightly above average at best in the playoffs because he's so worn down. Signing him to that extension when they did has come back to bite them like nearly everybody predicted; if not for him being on the books for next year, all the trade talk surrounding Mookie and JDM might not even be happening. If the Sox can get anyone to take him, they should, but I don't anyone doing it and I don't see it being a great return even if the Sox kick in some money towards the deal.

The more I look at this, the harder it is to see any kind of scenario where they are serious contenders without vastly exceeding the luxury tax. If they can get under it, it likely means they've had to sell off a lot of good pieces to keep the immovable ones and I'm not sure that puts them in any better position for 2020. I hope I'm wrong but maybe it's time to let the field lie fallow for a season and just absorb a losing season in the hopes to bring the next window around a little sooner and maximize its potential. Build around Mookie, Devers, X, and E-Rod (and maybe Chavis, though I think he's better as trade bait), but try to sell off anything that's not bolted down.
 

Dewey'sCannon

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It looks like they may be able to sneak under 208 by trading JBJ and non-tendering Leon. If so, that may be the plan until they get to the deadline and see whether it's worth it to add or whether they should sell off any of the big pieces (esp Mookie).
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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It looks like they may be able to sneak under 208 by trading JBJ and non-tendering Leon. If so, that may be the plan until they get to the deadline and see whether it's worth it to add or whether they should sell off any of the big pieces (esp Mookie).
Who would take JBJ's spot in the OF? Who plays backup C? What about 2B? Who's the fifth starter? Do they do anything to fix the bullpen or is it another year of needing starters to go 9 every time or for the offense to hang 12 runs on the board to have a chance of winning by a football score?
 

Dewey'sCannon

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Who would take JBJ's spot in the OF? Who plays backup C? What about 2B? Who's the fifth starter? Do they do anything to fix the bullpen or is it another year of needing starters to go 9 every time or for the offense to hang 12 runs on the board to have a chance of winning by a football score?
I assume the positional holes would be filled either by existing assets (Chavis, Travis, Marco, Dalbec) or some Bloom TB-style Filene's Basement/dumpster-diving specials. And I also wouldn't be surprised to see them go with an opener for the 5th rotation spot if they can't find someone cheap enough to fit into their budget.

Not that I think this is a "good" outcome, but at this point it seems like where it's headed unless they decide that filling these slots with better options is more important than getting under the cap.
 

The Gray Eagle

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I understand why this thread exists, and why people are trying to come up with ways to get rid of expensive contracts, but I dislike how every single proposed trade clearly makes the Red Sox a worse team.
I understand that this is what the team would have to do if the owners are hell-bent on getting under the $208 million line. I just don't think they really are.

I can't believe this ownership is actually that dumb and suddenly that cheap, and I won't until I actually see them signing off on trades that make us worse only to save payroll.

I am sure they won't be signing any new big names, or long term contracts, which is fine. I'm sure they'd love to move some of our high paid players if they got players who are cheaper but still good in return. Reducing the payroll a bit from last year makes sense. They can do all of that without making bad trades to clear so much payroll that they get under $208 million before this season starts.

I don't blame you all for trying to think up the least bad ways to slash payroll, but (so far) I don't think it will happen. I think they will have a smaller payroll than last year, but still be clearly above $208 million, and will sign some scrap heap and bounce-back types on one-year deals to fill holes.

And then next year they will try to get under the luxury tax and reset.
 

nighthob

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A teardown is coming either this offseason or next. A year of semi-contention just isn't worth the extra pain of watching Betts walk for nothing and having to replace him with a scrapheap signing and hoping that the comp pick can produce a major league player. I'm fine with them re-setting the clock the now, and then seeing what they can get at the trade deadline for Price, Eovaldi, or Sale (since other teams will want to see them healthy first).
 

chrisfont9

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Cruz for JDM makes no sense has abbey has already posited. JDM is way more expensive and doesnt offer substantially more, except maybe a longer payroll commitment. I cant see any team but the CWS trading for him.
We sure about this? Cruz is 39. He might not be good next year, and frankly if he is, I'm a little nervous wondering why he seems to be aging so well. Not saying he's breaking any rules, but if I'm a GM, that's a risk I'd take into account. He was suspended 50 games from the Biogenesis thing, so he's on a short leash already.
 

BigSoxFan

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We sure about this? Cruz is 39. He might not be good next year, and frankly if he is, I'm a little nervous wondering why he seems to be aging so well. Not saying he's breaking any rules, but if I'm a GM, that's a risk I'd take into account. He was suspended 50 games from the Biogenesis thing, so he's on a short leash already.
I'd also like to heavily discount the odds of JD Martinez, a DH who would never play the field, suffering some kind of career altering injury running the bases and leaving the Twins on the hook with a contract that they want no part of.
 

chrisfont9

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The more I look at this, the harder it is to see any kind of scenario where they are serious contenders without vastly exceeding the luxury tax. If they can get under it, it likely means they've had to sell off a lot of good pieces to keep the immovable ones and I'm not sure that puts them in any better position for 2020. I hope I'm wrong but maybe it's time to let the field lie fallow for a season and just absorb a losing season in the hopes to bring the next window around a little sooner and maximize its potential. Build around Mookie, Devers, X, and E-Rod (and maybe Chavis, though I think he's better as trade bait), but try to sell off anything that's not bolted down.
Or just pay the dumb tax. The whole idea of having to get under the threshold is ridiculous. No savings is worth losing our best young player in 50 years.
 

NomarsFool

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In my opinion, it would be foolish at this point to write off trying to win the World Series next year. Of course the starting pitching is a complete question mark. But, with a few choice moves, this could be a team that wins the World Series - which should be seen as extremely valuable by the ownership (I hope).

If a few months into the season, the starters are terrible and team is going nowhere - sure, go into firesale mode for all the veterans and retool. But, I have a hard time accepting throwing in the towel next season with all the talent they have under contract.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
Or just pay the dumb tax. The whole idea of having to get under the threshold is ridiculous. No savings is worth losing our best young player in 50 years one year before we most likely lose him anyway, for substantially less return than we get if we trade him now.
FTFY

Also, this whole notion that we are in a position to decide what degree of FO parsimony is or is not "ridiculous" seems kind of silly. It's not our money. We don't get to decide how to spend it, or how much superfluous spending is too much. If Henry & Co. were trying to get by with a $90M payroll, some grouchiness would be justified, but the idea that we're justified in throwing a collective hissy fit because the club doesn't want to keep scaling new heights of cost inefficiency by triggering higher and higher surcharges....not so much.
 
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Harry Hooper

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An interesting query that someone might want to run is simply to look at how many teams have NEVER paid a player an annual salary as high as what Betts is going to get for 2020. Despite being a 1-year obligation, trading for Betts this offseason will be no easy sell to ownership for GMs of such teams.
 
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chrisfont9

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FTFY

Also, this whole notion that we are in a position to decide what degree of FO parsimony is or is not "ridiculous" seems kind of silly. It's not our money. We don't get to decide how to spend it, or how much superfluous spending is too much. If Henry & Co. were trying to get by with a $90M payroll, some grouchiness would be justified, but the idea that we're justified in throwing a collective hissy fit because the club doesn't want to keep scaling new heights of cost inefficiency by triggering higher and higher surcharges....not so much.
We've been over this before, it's fine, we don't agree. I'll simply say, I hear you, but my belief is that we are the consumers, the team is profitable and very valuable, I don't see why we can't tell them what we want. Why should we validate their stated position -- essentially siding with the owners over the players -- when I am guessing the vast majority of us would rather they keep trying to win? Maybe they will ignore us, but my hunch is that they are sensitive to public opinion on some level. Yes, if it's not good for the team to keep him then do something else, public opinion be damned, but I really don't think that's what's going on here. I think they are playing along with the other owners in trying to resist salary inflation. It's strictly about money. Fuck their stupid money.

Finally, Betts might re-sign if we don't trade him; there is no evidence that he plans to leave even if the Sox make him a competitive offer. But if they trade him, that's probably out the window.
 

jon abbey

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Also Betts might re-sign if we don't trade him; there is no evidence that he plans to leave even if the Sox make him a competitive offer. But if they trade him, that's probably out the window.
There's no evidence for the latter part of this either, as far as we know, it's just as likely Betts signs with BOS after 2020 if he is traded or if he isn't.
 

jon abbey

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Just the Lester experience, which went badly, but Mookie's his own person.
Did the Red Sox even try to get him back after the season? I am sure I don't remember as well as you guys, but my memory of that was they lowballed him before the season, he turned it down, they traded him and then they didn't go near where the Cubs bid that winter.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
There's no evidence for the latter part of this either, as far as we know, it's just as likely Betts signs with BOS after 2020 if he is traded or if he isn't.
Certainly nothing about the way Mookie has talked about his situation suggests that he would hold a grudge if the Sox trade him for strategic reasons and communicate straightforwardly about it. That scenario seems quite possible. It's also possible that there are other clubs he'd rather play for, for any number of perfectly valid reasons, and if one of those clubs is in a position to make a competitive offer for him next fall there may be nothing the Sox can do. Who knows?
 

chrisfont9

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Did the Red Sox even try to get him back after the season? I am sure I don't remember as well as you guys, but my memory of that was they lowballed him before the season, he turned it down, they traded him and then they didn't go near where the Cubs bid that winter.
They offered him close to or maybe even slightly more than the Cubs did and either he (or Gammo, sort of his mouthpiece back then) talked about how being traded kind of cut the emotional cord. But that's definitely in the realm of post-hoc message control by both him and the team, so who really knows?
 

jon abbey

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They offered him close to or maybe even slightly more than the Cubs did and either he or Gammo talked about how being traded kind of cut the emotional cord. But that's definitely in the realm of post-hoc message control by both him and the team, so who really knows?
This story says the Cubs bid was $20M higher:

"Lester's deal will pay him the third-highest annual average salary, and was $20 million higher than the Boston Red Sox's bid, with Red Sox officials confirming they are out."

 

nvalvo

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First, I admit I really don't understand what "worth" means... in relation to what? fWAR?
This entire "worth" system... has to be recalculated. There has to be some better way to make this ridiculous number fit into an average team's average roster salary per year. He might be "worth" that number in a vaccuum, but obviously there's not one team in baseball that can pay that and also put a competitive roster of actual ML players. Whenever I see numbers of a players "worth" or "value" per season put into dollar amounts it never makes sense in the context of him on a roster of other players.
Yup, it's fWAR. I get that it's a fantasy, in that Betts would not get a 1/$61m offer were he on the market.

But the pool of just Free Agent players tend to get about $8m per projected WAR, and that's where those numbers come from. Remember that these are averages, and the average excludes pre-FA players and their salaries. So sometimes David Ortiz gets paid $16m to produce what Fangraphs thinks is $36m worth of WAR — amazing value! Sometimes Mitch Moreland gets paid $6.5m and produces $5.5m worth of WAR, and we got roughly what we paid for. Sometimes Pablo Sandoval gets $95m and produces -$8m worth of production — a total nightmare. It all goes into the average. These numbers used to rise steadily a few percent a year, but these days they seem to have plateaued.

Because they are averages, these $/WAR numbers do get a bit wonky at the extremes. Trout, for example, is an amazing value at a $36 AAV. If you, like me, think that Trout is likely to exceed 4.5 fWAR next season, he should produce a fair amount of surplus value for the Angels even at that steep salary. He is the best player, the best-paid player, and yet a surprisingly decent $/WAR value among players with 6+ years of service time. In my view, this is itself an argument for extending Betts even at huge dollars. Even if we pay him something outlandish like 8/$300 or 10/$350m, if he averages 5 fWAR over the life of the contract (a high bar, but not crazy for a player who has averaged 7.5 fWAR/162 games for his career), it would be a good FA value. That's why he's valuable. His market value — the money he can command through arb and eventually FA — is unlikely to match the value of his projected production (health allowing), simply because contracts don't go high enough. So yes, I know that Betts won't get paid $60m a year, and in that sense he isn't "worth" that amount. But that recognition itself helps make clear why he's a desirable player: he'll get paid ~$28m to produce an amount of WAR that would normally cost $61m in free agency.

And you're of course right that these values don't help explain what actual rosters look like, but only because real rosters aren't entirely made of free agents! An all FA team, with no pre-arb or arb players to get extra value, and average FA return would get ~25 WAR for $200m, and go 67-95. What that tells us is that you need to get surplus value out of your artificially cheap pre-arb and arb players to put a good team together. Even more than you want Mookie Betts to give you a 6.6 fWAR season for $20m, as he just did, you want a Rafael Devers to give you a 5.9 fWAR season for $500k.

What these $/fWAR surplus value calculations are really good for is comparing trades. The Fangraphs guys have now put $ values on tiers of prospects by projected future value, which makes it possible to estimate how good a prospect you can expect to get back for a given veteran.

I understand why this thread exists, and why people are trying to come up with ways to get rid of expensive contracts, but I dislike how every single proposed trade clearly makes the Red Sox a worse team.
I understand that this is what the team would have to do if the owners are hell-bent on getting under the $208 million line. I just don't think they really are.

I can't believe this ownership is actually that dumb and suddenly that cheap, and I won't until I actually see them signing off on trades that make us worse only to save payroll.

I am sure they won't be signing any new big names, or long term contracts, which is fine. I'm sure they'd love to move some of our high paid players if they got players who are cheaper but still good in return. Reducing the payroll a bit from last year makes sense. They can do all of that without making bad trades to clear so much payroll that they get under $208 million before this season starts.

I don't blame you all for trying to think up the least bad ways to slash payroll, but (so far) I don't think it will happen. I think they will have a smaller payroll than last year, but still be clearly above $208 million, and will sign some scrap heap and bounce-back types on one-year deals to fill holes.

And then next year they will try to get under the luxury tax and reset.
FWIW, I started this thread and I agree with every word of this post. I don't think any of these trades are as smart as giving something like the 2018-19 roster another spin in the hope that Sale, Price and Eovaldi can each make 25+ healthy starts. Hell, we've even developed a bullpen since April 2019.

If you read my initial post — which I don't mean to suggest you didn't — I don't actually endorse any of these trades. I actually think all of them would be bad ideas.

I can squint and imagine it making sense to deal JD Martinez to Chicago, if they will actually send us Reynaldo Lopez in return to be our fifth starter. Then we could either find a cheaper positionless slugger — Eric Thames? — or else promote Bobby Dalbec. If we then spent some or all of the saved money upgrading the right side of the infield, we might even be a better team after such a trade. That I think it would actually make sense to deal Martinez to Chicago for Lopez suggests to me that Chicago would not accept such a deal.

(The Trade Simulator also suggests that Martinez-Lopez is extremely tilted towards the Red Sox, but that maybe we could get CWS' #4 prospect Dane Dunning, a 23 y/o RHSP coming off TJS after a very nice 2018 between high-A and AA, and buy low on their #8 prospect, The Good Basabe, after a so-so season in AA. If we actually needed to shed payroll, I might do that deal. It hurts us in 2020, but adds a decent CF prospect and a good SP prospect to the high minors.)
 
Feb 6, 2018
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A teardown is coming either this offseason or next. A year of semi-contention just isn't worth the extra pain of watching Betts walk for nothing and having to replace him with a scrapheap signing and hoping that the comp pick can produce a major league player. I'm fine with them re-setting the clock the now, and then seeing what they can get at the trade deadline for Price, Eovaldi, or Sale (since other teams will want to see them healthy first).
With JDM re-signing, I would be less worried about the offense if they trade Betts but only for a haul of top prospects. The ownership said they want to get below the luxury tax publicly so they could get more trade offers. Bloom is wicked smart and won’t accept anything less than an amazing haul for Betts. Otherwise, let’s see what the 2020 team can do with a few tweaks and hopefully improved pitching.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
Who is going to give them "a haul of top prospects"?

Most posts here don't think that that would happen, even if a team was in position to do so.
Right. We might get multiple prospects, but it seems highly unlikely that more than one of them would be "top" by any sober definition. Something like one top-50 guy plus a couple of lottery tickets, or one 50-to-100 guy plus a couple of guys knocking at the door, seems like the best we could hope for.

I mean, turn it around. Think back to when we had multiple top-100 prospects--say, the winter of 2014, when our top 5 were Xander, JBJ, Owens, Cecchini, and Swihart according to SP. Now imagine that we were deciding to trade for a one-year rental of one of the best players in baseball -- back then, a logical candidate would have been Max Scherzer. Would you have thought it reasonable to give up more than one of Xander/JBJ/Owens/Cecchini/Swihart in a deal like that? For one year of Scherzer?

I know I wouldn't. I would have advocated for trading just one of that group, maybe JBJ, and making the deal up with lesser prospects like the then-current #10 and #18 guys, a coupla lottery tickets named Betts and Devers. :fonz:
 
I mean, turn it around. Think back to when we had multiple top-100 prospects--say, the winter of 2014, when our top 5 were Xander, JBJ, Owens, Cecchini, and Swihart according to SP. Now imagine that we were deciding to trade for a one-year rental of one of the best players in baseball -- back then, a logical candidate would have been Max Scherzer. Would you have thought it reasonable to give up more than one of Xander/JBJ/Owens/Cecchini/Swihart in a deal like that? For one year of Scherzer?

I know I wouldn't. I would have advocated for trading just one of that group, maybe JBJ, and making the deal up with lesser prospects like the then-current #10 and #18 guys, a coupla lottery tickets named Betts and Devers. :fonz:
I think this really helps to put things in perspective.

Sure, in retrospect it's easy to say "Sure, give up Owens and Cecchini," but at the time they were on the higher end, and we might have wanted to convince them to take Betts instead.
 
Feb 6, 2018
1,414
Florida
Who is going to give them "a haul of top prospects"?

Most posts here don't think that that would happen, even if a team was in position to do so.
A couple of top prospects within an organization, not necessarily in all of baseball. I’d want at least one prospect who could make an impact on the club within the next 3-4 years.
 

The Gray Eagle

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FWIW, I started this thread and I agree with every word of this post. I don't think any of these trades are as smart as giving something like the 2018-19 roster another spin in the hope that Sale, Price and Eovaldi can each make 25+ healthy starts. Hell, we've even developed a bullpen since April 2019.

If you read my initial post — which I don't mean to suggest you didn't — I don't actually endorse any of these trades. I actually think all of them would be bad ideas.

I can squint and imagine it making sense to deal JD Martinez to Chicago, if they will actually send us Reynaldo Lopez in return to be our fifth starter. Then we could either find a cheaper positionless slugger — Eric Thames? — or else promote Bobby Dalbec. If we then spent some or all of the saved money upgrading the right side of the infield, we might even be a better team after such a trade. That I think it would actually make sense to deal Martinez to Chicago for Lopez suggests to me that Chicago would not accept such a deal.

(The Trade Simulator also suggests that Martinez-Lopez is extremely tilted towards the Red Sox, but that maybe we could get CWS' #4 prospect Dane Dunning, a 23 y/o RHSP coming off TJS after a very nice 2018 between high-A and AA, and buy low on their #8 prospect, The Good Basabe, after a so-so season in AA. If we actually needed to shed payroll, I might do that deal. It hurts us in 2020, but adds a decent CF prospect and a good SP prospect to the high minors.)
I'm glad we agree.

I know people in this thread are reasonably trying to find the least damaging ways for the team to slash payroll, but I am totally not buying the whole concept.

The team took in $516 million in revenues in 2018, with a payroll about half that, even with luxury taxes included. The numbers for 2019 probably won't be much different (any revenue decline from the not contending may have been at least a bit offset by the team pocketing $6 or $7 extra million by selling 2 Yankee home games.)

The idea that they "have" to dump good players and make the team worse to save money this year is nonsense.They might end up doing it, but they don't have to. If they do, it would be a shocking change of philosophy in a matter of a few months, and incredibly disappointing for what has been the best ownership in baseball from day one.
 

patoaflac

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I'm glad we agree.

I know people in this thread are reasonably trying to find the least damaging ways for the team to slash payroll, but I am totally not buying the whole concept.

The team took in $516 million in revenues in 2018, with a payroll about half that, even with luxury taxes included. The numbers for 2019 probably won't be much different (any revenue decline from the not contending may have been at least a bit offset by the team pocketing $6 or $7 extra million by selling 2 Yankee home games.)

The idea that they "have" to dump good players and make the team worse to save money this year is nonsense.They might end up doing it, but they don't have to. If they do, it would be a shocking change of philosophy in a matter of a few months, and incredibly disappointing for what has been the best ownership in baseball from day one.
Isn’t payroll only a part of the expenses? Besides, going above tax limits has other penalties.
I know I’m in the minority group in here, but I would trade Betts and if possible Price, Sale and or Eovaldi and say bye bye to JBJ (I believe no one would give anything for him). One or two bad years and competitive again in 2021or 2022.
 

bankshot1

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Quoting Gray Eagle post #45

"The idea that they "have" to dump good players and make the team worse to save money this year is nonsense.They might end up doing it, but they don't have to. If they do, it would be a shocking change of philosophy in a matter of a few months, and incredibly disappointing for what has been the best ownership in baseball from day one.

Totally agree.

While I believe a more prudent/selective approach to talent acquistion is a good thing, and some selective cost reduction is warranted (adios JBJ, Porcello gone, and if Price could be traded, ...) and I do not know the dollars involved or what the short-term financial impact would be on either the Sox, or the multi-billion global sports empire run Henry, (Fenway Sports Group) I could easily believe the relatively modest financial penalties incurred (relative to the sports empire business in total) by being over the cap for 1,2 ,or 3 more years, could be more than dwarfed by potential loss in ticket sales, concessions, revenues associated with TV ratings, reputational damage, and ultimately the business valuation of the Sox and FSG, reflecting a short-term decision to reach a seemingly arbitrary financial goal to get underneath the cap at the cost of not pursuing and losing a homegrown player, entering his prime, who happens to be one of the best players in the game, and one who seems to be pretty marketable. I think its a bad business decision, and I do not think Henry is a bad business person.
 

Savin Hillbilly

loves the secret sauce
SoSH Member
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The wrong side of the bridge....
While I believe a more prudent/selective approach to talent acquistion is a good thing, and some selective cost reduction is warranted (adios JBJ, Porcello gone, and if Price could be traded, ...) and I do not know the dollars involved or what the short-term financial impact would be on either the Sox, or the multi-billion global sports empire run Henry, (Fenway Sports Group) I could easily believe the relatively modest financial penalties incurred (relative to the sports empire business in total) by being over the cap for 1,2 ,or 3 more years, could be more than dwarfed by potential loss in ticket sales, concessions, revenues associated with TV ratings, reputational damage, and ultimately the business valuation of the Sox and FSG, reflecting a short-term decision to reach a seemingly arbitrary financial goal to get underneath the cap at the cost of not pursuing and losing a homegrown player, entering his prime, who happens to be one of the best players in the game, and one who seems to be pretty marketable. I think its a bad business decision, and I do not think Henry is a bad business person.
I hate to be the broken record, but when people keep making the same mistakes it's hard not to keep responding to them.

1. If you "do not know the dollars involved or what the short-term financial impact would be", then what's your basis for being so confident that they don't need to cut costs this year? It seems like some of you are asserting this as kind of a faith-based proposition. Of course they don't "have" to in the sense that FSG is unlikely to go belly-up as a consequence of going over the LT threshold one more time. But that doesn't mean that a sober look at their payroll situation and long-term plans wouldn't convince most neutral observers that getting under the LT this year is the smart thing to do. I don't know that this is the case, but by the same token, you don't know it isn't, either.

2a. The Sox can't "lose" Mookie. He can choose to sign somewhere else, or he can choose to stay here. The Sox will presumably make him a competitive offer, but it's possible someone else will beat it. It seems plausible that one of the reasons why they think it's important to get under the LT threshold this year is so that they are free to make him a competitive offer next year--and to spend significant dollars elsewhere if they can't land him--without worrying too much about the impact on their LT status.

2b. At 27, Mookie is not "entering his prime." He's well into it, and probably hitting the back side of it. If his aging curve is typical (granted that no player's aging curve is perfectly typical), he will be declining from here on in, very gradually for the next few years, then more steeply after 30.
 

bankshot1

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I hate to be the broken record, but when people keep making the same mistakes it's hard not to keep responding to them.

1. If you "do not know the dollars involved or what the short-term financial impact would be", then what's your basis for being so confident that they don't need to cut costs this year? It seems like some of you are asserting this as kind of a faith-based proposition. Of course they don't "have" to in the sense that FSG is unlikely to go belly-up as a consequence of going over the LT threshold one more time. But that doesn't mean that a sober look at their payroll situation and long-term plans wouldn't convince most neutral observers that getting under the LT this year is the smart thing to do. I don't know that this is the case, but by the same token, you don't know it isn't, either.

2a. The Sox can't "lose" Mookie. He can choose to sign somewhere else, or he can choose to stay here. The Sox will presumably make him a competitive offer, but it's possible someone else will beat it. It seems plausible that one of the reasons why they think it's important to get under the LT threshold this year is so that they are free to make him a competitive offer next year--and to spend significant dollars elsewhere if they can't land him--without worrying too much about the impact on their LT status.

2b. At 27, Mookie is not "entering his prime." He's well into it, and probably hitting the back side of it. If his aging curve is typical (granted that no player's aging curve is perfectly typical), he will be declining from here on in, very gradually for the next few years, then more steeply after 30.
Perhaps you should play it again Savin. But listen more closely.

1-I didn't say they didn't need to cut costs, if fact I specifically said adios to JBJ, Porcello and maybe Price and maybe others to reduce costs.

I'm speculating on, the team's payroll going forward, the financial condition of a multi-billion dollar sports organization, and the relative impact of a Sox cost-reduction plan on the FSG as a whole. I do not know the #s, and as best as I can tell no one else here does either, and I suspect a small army of consultants are working on the #s from several areas (tix, concessions, TV, reputational etc, as already posted) to best model the impact of the various decisions, to best figure it out. And as I posted cost reductions are likely needed if they want to pursue the guy.

2; No shit thanks for a blinding glimpse of the obvious. But they can pursue him aggressively and make him a good faith reasonable best offer as opposed to a low-ball Lester approach. And if he passes on a reasonable offer so be it. We will survive.

3-He's 27, in great shape, with no reason to believe he can't be a very good player into his mid-30s. But I'll defer to you on the matter of a 27 YO guy's ability to play in the future.

If you have any data or unique insights, and the short- and long-term competitive position of the Sox, and the valuation of FSG, I would be very interested on your insight.
 

The Gray Eagle

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I hate to be the broken record, but when people keep making the same mistakes it's hard not to keep responding to them.

1. Of course they don't "have" to in the sense that FSG is unlikely to go belly-up as a consequence of going over the LT threshold one more time. But that doesn't mean that a sober look at their payroll situation and long-term plans wouldn't convince most neutral observers that getting under the LT this year is the smart thing to do. I don't know that this is the case, but by the same token, you don't know it isn't, either.
So did they just make this "sober look at their payroll situation" this past September? Where was that sober look when ownership was signing off on big contracts for Eovaldi, Bogaerts, and Sale less than a year ago? How are those contracts part of a long term plan when we are trying to slash payroll so much now, less than a year later?

Trying to get under the LT threshold a few months after dishing out those deals is mystifying at best. It's like sending an ocean liner full speed ahead, then ordering a turn on a dime a few minutes later. If there's an iceberg, why wasn't it spotted earlier when there was time to avoid it?

They could try to blame it all on Dombrowski, but if so, and they just let him do whatever he wanted without oversight and they just signed off on huge long-term contracts without thinking through the effects on the very next season, then that actually makes ownership look worse. That doesn't sound like a long-term plan at all, it sounds like the opposite.

It's a little late to turn around right now for this coming season. It takes time to change directions like that. To trim payroll that much and still contend in 2020, different decisions should have been made last offseason. That's when long-term planning decisions about the 2020 payroll should have been made.

And if we're not trying to contend in 2020, then those long-term big money contracts look even worse.

That's why I don't think this ownership is really going to try to get under the $208 line this offseason. I think that was mostly just posturing, and setting expectations about lowering payroll a bit this year, then more next year.

I might well be wrong about that, but if they slash it all the way under $208 this year, it's a huge sudden change, one that smacks of having no consistent long-term plan, and very disappointing from this ownership group. And it means no one should expect this team to contend for the playoffs this year. They'd better be factoring a big drop in revenues if we have another non-competitive season.