The Red Sox are in a bit of a pickle heading into this offseason and into 2020 as well. The spending of Dave Dombrowski led to the team to want to cut payroll, especially given some bad contracts. The Red Sox decided to bring in Chaim Bloom to head their baseball operations. He comes from a Tampa Bay Rays team that is known for doing more with less. The Red Sox are going to need an active offseason if they do not want to be left behind in 2020 and beyond.
World Series Odds
It’s no secret that odds makers really enjoy what the Astros are doing over in Houston. The Red Sox are at a +1200 odds to win the World Series heading into the offseason. The Astros are a +600. Even with those odds, the Red Sox are still one of the top 5 favorites to win the World Series heading into 2020. The Red Sox will need to get creative to get there. It isn’t an easy task to cut payroll while fielding a competitive team.
It’s no secret that the team, as presently assembled, did not live up to expectations in 2019. Every player outside of Xander Bogaerts, Eduardo Rodriguez and Rafael Devers took a step back in performance. The bullpen seemingly blew a game every couple of days, and even blew the final game of the season. This team needs to make wholesale changes if they want to compete again, as there are some contracts weighing them down.
There are a couple of guys that the team has under contract that might make it difficult to maneuver the offseason of cutting payroll. The four contracts to look at are David Price, Chris Sale, Nathan Eovaldi and Dustin Pedroia.
David Price, for what it is worth, has performed better as of late. His contract is looking less like an albatross and more like an over pay. He pitched to a 4.28 ERA across his 107.1 injury plagued innings. Price has been known to lash out at media members, and it makes this contract look like one that needs to be unloaded.
Chris Sale was handed a contract extension before even throwing a pitch in his walk year. His season ended prematurely, after being largely ineffective throughout the year. The first year of his $30 million contract kicks in heading into 2020 and the Red Sox are hoping he can find what warranted that contract again.
Nathan Eovaldi missed most of this season with an injury. He was way overpaid by Dombrowski, and Dombrowski seemingly threw money at him for a really good postseason. He is injury prone and will be paid $17 million for his services over the next 4 seasons. If the Red Sox see another season like this past one, it might be a bust of a signing.
Decision to Make
Dustin Pedroia has been the heart of this franchise for more than a decade. Unfortunately, it seems that his playing days might be over. Yet, he still is being paid $13.75 million per year to sit on the IL and try to rehab his way back. Pedroia is an awesome player when healthy, but ever since his knee got taken out by Manny Machado, resulting in surgery, he hasn’t been the same. The Red Sox will need to figure out if they can get out of the remaining contract to save a little money on the luxury tax.
No More Spending Coming
The team is determined to get back under the luxury tax threshold of $208 million. It’s going to require some movements, but remaining competitive while doing so will be the interesting part. JD Martinez opting into his contract created a different conundrum with the team, and that’s the fate of Mookie Betts.
Mookie has long been adamant about going to free agency. It seems that the team and Mookie cannot come to terms that make sense. Mookie is projected to earn close to $30 million dollars in arbitration. For a team that is trying to retool and shed payroll, trading Mookie can make logical sense. He may be one of the best players on the team, but if he is not willing to take an extension, it might be the easiest way under the threshold. Removing his salary would surely drop them under and get some good talent back into the farm system or even the major league team.
No matter how you slice it, the team needs to be active this offseason. They may have really good odds to make and win the World Series, but this team needs a makeover before they’re destined to become the Detroit Tigers. Ownership made the right decision in changing leadership before it got that far. This offseason might be a painful one for the heart strings. However, for a business and what can get the Red Sox back into contention, but I’m sure it will make sense.