Red Sox

What the Red Sox payroll looks like with Mookie Betts, David Price gone

What the Red Sox payroll looks like with Mookie Betts, David Price gone

The Boston Red Sox made a massive decision on Tuesday night. They elected to trade Mookie Betts and David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers in order to cut their 2020 payroll.

Betts was slated to be a free agent next offseason and it seemed possible that he could leave the Red Sox, as the two were rumored to be far apart in contract negotiations. They managed to get two good prospects in return for Betts and Price, Alex Verdugo and Brusdar Graterol, but fans will still likely be unhappy with the return given that Betts is, undoubtedly, one of baseball's top-five players.

That said, the Red Sox did accomplish their goal of getting under the luxury tax. In fact, they cut $43 million from their payroll by trading the $27 million owed to Betts and half of the $32 million owed to Price in 2020.

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As a result, the Red Sox now have a payroll number of $178 million and projected tax allocations of about $192 million, according to Spotrac.com. That will drop them $16 million below the $208 million tax line.

And now, the Red Sox have just three players set to make $20+ million in 2020. They are as follows:

  • P Chris Sale ($30 million)
  • DH J.D. Martinez ($23.75 million)
  • SS Xander Bogaerts ($20 million)

Other players making eight-figures in 2020 include Nathan Eovaldi ($17 million), Dustin Pedroia ($13.1 million), and Jackie Bradley Jr. ($11 million).

So, all told, it looks like the Red Sox have fixed their payroll issues. They won't have to pay luxury tax following the 2020 season and they still have a little wiggle room to add some low-cost free agents.

But will the Red Sox be able to stay competitive in 2020? They gave up their best overall player and their second-best starting pitcher. Their starting rotation looks particularly weak and will be especially dependent on Sale, who struggled amid shoulder and elbow injuries last season. So, they may be in for a rocky 2020 campaign.

Only time will tell if the Red Sox made the right move here. But for now, they accomplished what appears to be their biggest goal. They won't likely pay luxury tax after the 2020 season.

Tomase: Making sense of the Mookie Betts trade

Chaim Bloom estimates when Chris Sale could return from Tommy John surgery

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File Photo

Chaim Bloom estimates when Chris Sale could return from Tommy John surgery

Chris Sale turned 31 on Monday. He also had Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow on that same day. The procedure will sideline him for at least the rest of the 2020 season and beyond. 

But when exactly can we expect Sale back? Boston Red Sox chief of baseball operations, Chaim Bloom, wouldn't confirm to an exact date, but he did provide some insight into how long Sale might be sidelined.

"We don't know exactly," Bloom said, per Christopher Smith of MassLive.com. "Typically you see around that 14-15 month range."

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Okay, so maybe that's not the most specific answer, but it at least gives us a ballpark idea of when Sale could return.

A 14-15 month recovery period would have Sale return sometime between early June and early July in 2021, if his recovery goes well. Of course, there are so many variables to take into account about how Sale may be progressing but also about how the Sox may be faring. If they aren't doing well, the team could take an extremely cautious approach with Sale in hopes of having him fully healthy for the 2022 season.

But Bloom's estimate at least gives Sox fans an initial target for Sale's potential return. The target date will certainly be fluid especially considering that some pitchers take 18 months to return from the surgery.

But no matter what, Sale won't be suiting up for the Red Sox until mid-2021 at the earliest. And that's bad news for the squad considering their lack of starting pitching depth.

Red Sox ace Chris Sale officially undergoes Tommy John surgery

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File Photo

Red Sox ace Chris Sale officially undergoes Tommy John surgery

Chris Sale's long road to recovery from a pesky elbow injury began on Monday.

The Boston Red Sox officially announced that Sale underwent Tommy John surgery on Monday to reconstruct the UCL in his throwing arm. Noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache performed the surgery.

The Red Sox and Sale decided that he would need to have the surgery about a week and a half ago. The coronavirus crisis made it a bit uncertain as to when Sale would be able to have the procedure done, but now, it is in the books.

Sale won't pitch at all in 2020 and it's likely that he will miss time in 2021 as well. In fact, he could miss that whole season given that a typical recovery from Tommy John surgery takes about 18 months.

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Either way, the Red Sox will be without Sale long-term and as a result, their starting rotation looks very thin. Eduardo Rodgriguez will slot in as the team's ace while Nathan Eovaldi and Martin Perez are the Nos. 2 and 3 starters respectively.

The other two rotation spots are up for grabs but before the league was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was assumed that Ryan Weber had the inside track for the fourth starter position. The fifth starter role was much less settled and the team may have used an opener strategy given their lack of starting pitching depth.

Without Sale, the Red Sox will likely have to rely a lot on their offense to carry them to victory moving forward. But we won't get a chance to see how they look until the MLB returns. And at this point in time, it's unclear when that may be.