Red Sox

Sources: Red Sox to go over luxury-tax threshold of $237 million

Sources: Red Sox to go over luxury-tax threshold of $237 million

BOSTON — Every dollar the Red Sox spend from here on out will cost Tom Werner, John Henry and their partners even more money, barring a surprising change.

The Red Sox as presently constituted would finish above baseball’s highest luxury tax threshold, $237 million, in 2018, sources with knowledge of the team’s payroll told NBC Sports Boston.

The situation marks a commendable commitment from ownership, and also leaves questions about roster building in the past and the present.

"Our ownership is totally committed to winning and trying to bring a championship to the organization and our fans," Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowksi wrote by email. "You never like to incur a penalty, but, they/we, do not want that to be a deterrent to making moves that we think can help us win this year."

Unknown at this point is whether the Sox and Dombrowski now feel freed, or even a sense of obligation, to make further additions. And if the Sox knew they were going to go over anyway, might they have operated differently in the winter or even during this season?

The loss here is twofold: to the Sox' coffers, and in the amateur draft. The latter is a tough pill to swallow for a team with a thin farm system.

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The Sox will pay a 62.5 percent tax on any payroll above $237 million. They also will see their top pick in the 2019 amateur draft reduced 10 slots, from somewhere close to No. 30 to somewhere close to No. 40. (Draft order is based on the prior season’s record and runs inverse to performance, so the worst teams pick first.) The difference historically picking in those spots is not large. However, there is a trickle-down effect because the lower pick also means the Sox will have less money to spend — and potentially spread around to other picks — in the draft. A player who falls, for example, might be harder to scoop up.

Theoretically, the Sox from here could shed salary or acquire money via trade to dip below $237 million in 2018. But as the team searches to acquire talent, it’s hard to see a scenario where that happens. Adding talent and simultaneously reducing payroll would require a high prospect and talent expenditure that the Sox likely would not want to undertake, or some sort of ingenious swap of similar talents but different salary structures.

The luxury tax, technically known as the competitive balance tax, or CBT, is a little different than simply calculating what the Sox are paying players in 2018.

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Brock Holt continues to embrace role on Red Sox: ‘I love it here’

Brock Holt continues to embrace role on Red Sox: ‘I love it here’

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Whether he’s playing various positions, boosting morale in the clubhouse, or hitting for the cycle in the playoffs, Brock Holt is a jack of all trades.

Holt has carved out an invaluable role with the Red Sox since joining Boston in 2013. A role he still embraces six years later.

“I love it here,” Holt told reporters Sunday at JetBlue Park. “You know, this has become home to me. I’ve said many times that I would like to play every day if possible, but if that were the case I wouldn’t be a part of this. This team calls for me to move around and play different positions. That’s what’s gotten me to be in the big leagues, stay in the big leagues and be a part of this team, and I’m very thankful for that.”

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While Holt would love the opportunity to contribute on the field day in and day out, the 30-year-old remains willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win.

“I feel like everyone in this clubhouse is here to win, and that’s all we want to do and that’s all I want to do,” he said. “So whatever we have to do to make that happen, that’s what we’re going to do. I think that’s kind of why I fit the way I do. We have a lot of really good players in here, but I feel like I’m a really good player as well and I can back those guys up when they need a day off, or an injury or something like that.”

Holt’s plentiful contributions to the team both on and off the field haven’t gone unnoticed. Red Sox manager Alex Cora praised his utility man on Sunday.

“He’s great in the clubhouse, he’s one of the leaders, he’s always willing to do whatever,” Cora said.

“He’s a good a player. A productive player. The last two months of the season and the playoffs he was driving the ball out of the ballpark. He was slugging and he played good defense at second. So I’m very happy to have him back. Him around us makes us better, and he’s a guy that’s gonna be important for us all through the season. We’ll find at-bats for him, he’ll play different positions, and he’s going to be productive.”

After talking about teammate Mookie Betts winning the 2018 American League MVP award, Holt was asked if he believes he’d have a shot at the award if he were an everyday player in another city.

“Chances would probably be a little better. More at-bats, obviously,” said Holt. “But no, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere but right here doing what I’m doing. Getting to put on this uniform every day and play for this organization is something you can only dream about and I’m getting to live it every day. So I’m very thankful.”

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J.D. Martinez: ‘For a DH to win MVP, they’re going to have to walk on water’

J.D. Martinez: ‘For a DH to win MVP, they’re going to have to walk on water’

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Many were surprised last year when J.D. Martinez finished outside of the top three in MVP voting, but Martinez saw it coming.

Martinez’s numbers jumped off the page in 2018. In his first season with the Red Sox, the 31-year-old mashed his way to a .330 batting average, 43 home runs and 130 RBI. Still, he finished fourth behind teammate Mookie Betts, Angels superstar Mike Trout, and Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez.

While his teammates were stunned to see him fail to crack the top three after being arguably the best pure hitter in baseball, Martinez knew all along that being a designated hitter would cost him votes.

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“I was like, ‘Guys, there’s no way the analytic guys are going to ever let that happen,’” Martinez told reporters Sunday at JetBlue Park. “For a DH to win MVP they’re going to have to walk on water.”

He might be right. Red Sox great David Ortiz finished in the top five in MVP voting five times, but never won the award. Another one of the best designated hitters of all time, Edgar Martinez, placed in the top five only once.

“It became the talk in the clubhouse last year,” Martinez said. “Everybody’s like, ‘The only way you’re going to win it is to win the Triple Crown.’ I was like, ’100 percent. That’s the only chance.' So when it came out, I kind of expected it.”

Martinez’s production at the plate spoke for itself, but it was his presence off the field that likely earned him more MVP votes than he otherwise would have gotten. Betts, manager Alex Cora, and many more of Martinez’s Red Sox teammates have spoken at length about his invaluable contributions in the clubhouse.

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