Dan Shaughnessy

John Henry says Red Sox focused on competitiveness not salary cutting

John Henry says Red Sox focused on competitiveness not salary cutting

About that whole Red Sox cutting payroll thing?

Sox principal owner John Henry told the Boston Globe's Dan Shaughnessy that the team is focused more on being competitive rather than getting under baseball's luxury tax - a.k.a. competitive balance tax - threshold of $208 million.

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

"But this focus on CBT [competitive balance tax] resides with the media far more than it does within the Sox," Henry, who also owns the Globe, wrote to Shaughnessy in an email. "I think every team probably wants to reset at least once every three years — that’s sort of been the history — but just this week...I reminded baseball ops that we are focused on competitiveness over the next 5 years over and above resetting to which they said, ‘That’s exactly how we’ve been approaching it.’

This comes a few months after Henry said this at Sox ownership's end-of-the-season press conference:

"This year we need to be under the CBT and that was something we've known for more than a year now. If you don't reset, there are penalties, so we've known for some time now we needed to reset as other clubs have done."

The Sox had MLB's highest payroll last season of $228 million and consequently had to pay a $13.4 million luxury tax, well above what it cost the only other two teams that had to pay - the Cubs at $7.6M and Yankees at $6.7M. The Sox have paid more than $50M in luxury tax since the system began in 2003.

Chaim Bloom was hired away from the Tampa Bay Rays, who had MLB's lowest payroll at $67M, to become Red Sox chief baseball officer with the thought that he'd be directed to slash payroll. That fueled rumors of trades involving big-money stars Mookie Betts and David Price.

Henry downplayed any salary-cutting directive and told Shaughnessy in the email that his bringing up the CBT at the end-of-the-season press conference was not some inadvertent revelation. 

“You seem to think Chaim was brought in to reduce payroll. That has simply not been the way FSG [Fenway Sports Group, Henry's parent company of the Red Sox and English Premier League soccer's Liverpool FC] operates here or across the pond," Henry wrote. "We try to act responsibly so as to be consistently competitive. Your main point seems to be that I accidentally disclosed a secret plan but unlike you, I am honest about Sox issues. The question was asked and I answered it.’’

Henry's email comes within days of the Red Sox agreeing to a one-year, $27M contract with Betts on Friday to avoid arbitration. It's a record deal for an arbitration-eligible player. Betts, expected to command a multi-year deal worth $300M or more when he becomes a free agent after this season, is the third-highest paid player on the team. Pitchers Price ($32M and Chris Sale ($30M) top the payroll. 



Dave Dombrowski 'surprised' he's on hot seat less than a year after Red Sox title

Dave Dombrowski 'surprised' he's on hot seat less than a year after Red Sox title

Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski addressed his future in two separate interviews this week, telling USA TODAY he's surprised to be on the hot seat and telling WEEI "there's no inside information" behind a Boston Globe column that intimated his days at Fenway Park are numbered.

“Well, I don’t want to say too much about it,’’ Dombrowski said of the speculation, in an interview with USA TODAY'S Bob Nightengale conducted over the weekend at Fenway, “but I am surprised. At least a little bit. I mean, we did win three divisions and a World Series."

As for Dan Shaughnessy's speculation in his Globe column recently that he'd be shocked if Dombrowski is back with next season and that the 63-year-old veteran baseball executive has "few friends inside Fenway's walls," Dombrowski dismissed the sources of that information.

“First of all, I’ve learned now throughout my time period that there’s just some writers I don’t read their articles,” Dombrowski told WEEI. “That’s a better way to do it, so you don’t know what they say at times. You hear about it through the grapevine. But it isn’t just related to me, it’s related to other things throughout the time period I’ve been here..." 

“The people that make that type of decision are John Henry, Tom Werner [and limited partner] Mike Gordon, and I know they’re not getting information from them,” Dombrowski said.

Dombrowski told Nightengale the intense media and fan scrutiny has lived up to its billing since he took the job on Aug. 18, 2015. He has a year left on his contract.

“But I get it. This is a tough market. It’s been known as that. Growing up in this game, I was always told there are three markets that are different than everywhere else: Boston, New York and Philadelphia. And I’d have to say it’s probably lived up to be true.

“It’s just a situation where you look back, somebody seems to get blamed for whatever happened. The fans have been great. And so has ownership. It’s just a [media] theme that always seems to take place."

As for criticism that he's depleted the farm system and compromised the Sox' long-term future with some of his trades that brought back major league talent for top minor league prospects, Dombrowski told Nightengale, “I thought that was what it was all about, trying to win championships.’’

And in hindsight, was the five-year, $145 million extension for Chris Sale, whose future is now very much in doubt, premature?

“I’m thrilled that Chris Sale is with us,’’ Dombrowski said. “People say, 'Oh, could they have waited to sign him?' Sure, but what if you wait and can’t sign him for the same dollar figures we put forth. We thought it was a realistic number."

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Breakfast Pod: Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen put their Brookline home up for sale

Breakfast Pod: Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen put their Brookline home up for sale

What's the "For Sale" sign at the Brady estate mean? What's the future of Dave Dombrowski in Boston? And what's up with "Team Shamrock" in Vegas?

1:10: Tom E. Curran is with the BST crew to discuss Tom Brady and Gisele putting their Brookline home up for sale, just after news broke of his contract extension details.

9:14: John Tomase joins Gary Tanguay and Trenni Kusnierek from Fenway to discuss Dan Shaughnessy’s comments suggesting that Dave Dombrowski will not be back with the Red Sox next season.

13:10: Adam Jones joins Gary Tanguay in the studio, they check in with Chris Forsberg out in Vegas to discuss Celtics chemistry at Day 2 of Team USA practice.