MLB Rumors

Red Sox get a $13.4 million luxury tax bill on MLB's highest payroll

Red Sox get a $13.4 million luxury tax bill on MLB's highest payroll

Why do the Red Sox seem so adamant about getting under $208 million in payroll for next season?

It's got everything to do with the luxury-tax bill sent to them by Major League Baseball for their MLB-leading payroll of $228 million for 2019. That bill was $13.4 million, according to figures obtained Wednesday by the Associated Press.

The Chicago Cubs ($7.6 million) and New York Yankees ($6.7 million) were the only other teams that will have to pay the luxury tax, according to the AP.  Of the three, only the Yankees made the playoffs in 2019. 

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This bill makes it $50 million in luxury taxes paid by the Red Sox since the system was put in place in 2003. The Yankees have paid a whopping $348 million in luxury taxes and appear on their way again in 2020 after giving right-hander Gerrit Cole a record nine-year, $324 million contract. 

The Red Sox are hoping that their 2019 luxury tax bill is their last one for a while. They have made it a stated goal of getting under the $208 million payroll threshold where the tax kicks in. 

"This year we need to be under the CBT [competitive balance tax] and that was something we've known for more than a year now," Red Sox owner John Henry said back in October. "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."

New Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom, with a history of success with small-payroll Tampa Bay Rays (who had MLB's lowest payroll at $67 million), was brought in and charged with getting the Sox payroll reduced. Rumors of Boston shedding big-money players such as Mookie Betts and David Price in trades have swirled all offseason.

MLB Trade Rumors: Could Padres be a suitor for Red Sox' Mookie Betts?

MLB Trade Rumors: Could Padres be a suitor for Red Sox' Mookie Betts?

Add another National League West team to Mookie Betts' list of suitors.

San Diego Padres general manager A.J. Preller has "discussed" a trade for the Boston Red Sox outfielder this offseason, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported Monday.

Rosenthal noted Betts was one of several big names on Preller's trade wish list, which includes Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor, Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant and others.

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But the Padres' reported interest in Betts is worth mentioning as Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom mulls whether to trade his superstar outfielder.

San Diego boasts one of the deepest farm systems in baseball with seven prospects on MLB's 2019 Top 100 list, including the No. 3 overall prospect, left-hander MacKenzie Gore.

If Bloom wants to replenish Boston's barren farm system, a trade with San Diego involving Betts (and possibly pitcher David Price?) could be an intriguing place to start.

Betts figures to have plenty other asset-rich suitors, though. The Atlanta Braves are brimming with young talent and are logical candidates to add Betts to that mix, while the spend-happy Los Angeles Dodgers have the cash to take on Betts' expected record contract.

With MLB's Winter Meetings now over and big moves already starting -- the Texas Rangers reportedly landed former Cy Young award winner Corey Kluber on Sunday -- Betts' situation should be monitored closely ... with a keen eye on the NL West.

MLB rumors: Tampa ties make Dodgers, Angels strong contenders to acquire David Price

MLB rumors: Tampa ties make Dodgers, Angels strong contenders to acquire David Price

SAN DIEGO -- David Price made his name in Tampa Bay. Could he be reunited with either of the two architects of those breakout Rays teams this offseason?

The rumor mill is churning at the winter meetings, and according to a pair of rival executives, the Dodgers and Angels are considered prime landing spots if Price is moved this winter, partly because Price has a personal connection to both teams.

The Dodgers are run by Andrew Friedman, who drafted Price first overall out of Vanderbilt in 2007 while serving as Tampa's executive vice president of baseball operations. Price was one of the foundational pieces of Tampa's rise to prominence on Friedman's watch.

The Angels, meanwhile, just hired Joe Maddon to be their manager. He was Tampa's skipper when Price debuted in 2008 and reached the World Series, and he was still at the helm when the Rays traded Price to the Tigers in 2014.

Both men had strong relationships with Price, according to multiple sources, and would be open to a reunion.

A lot has to happen before Price changes teams, though. The Dodgers and Angels have been aggressive on the starting pitching market, despite losing the Gerrit Cole sweepstakes to the Yankees. The Dodgers have reportedly turned their attention to free-agent lefty Madison Bumgarner, while the Angels must upgrade one of the worst rotations in baseball. No Angels pitcher reached 20 starts last year and the starting ERA of 5.64 ranked last in the AL.

At this point, their interest is simply the stuff of rumors. Price may not be anything more than a fallback for either organization, and a number of solid starters remain unsigned, including Bumgarner, defending NL ERA champ Hyun-Jin Ryu of the Dodgers, and former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel.

If the Angels or Dodgers eventually turn their attention to Price, it wouldn't come as a surprise. Friedman and Maddon oversaw the best seasons of Price's career. He went 82-47 with a 3.18 ERA in parts of seven seasons with the Rays, making four All-Star teams and winning a Cy Young Award.

He has had a tougher go in Boston, but he did exorcise one demon by leading the Red Sox to a World Series in 2018 with a dominant postseason.

Any team acquiring him will have to be comfortable assuming all or most of the three years and $96 million remaining on his contract.

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