29 October 2009
Below is a chart I created using Tony's numbers. We have the player, what they were paid in 2009, their projected salaries for 2010... and my "2010 BL" column in which I guess what the player will actually make in 2010. Players in bold I expect to be back in 2010. Players is red may not stay in Boston.
With Bard, Lowrie, Buchholz, Ramirez and maybe even Ellsbury to make $1M or less in 2010 the Sox are in good shape. But the $40M that Tony says the Sox have to spend this offseason, gets gobbled up quickly if the Sox agree to keep Varitek at $3M, re-sign Gonzalez for his full $6M option price, and pick up Wake's $4M option.
Now we get to the tricky part. The Sox can re-sign Okajima and round out the bullpen with Paps, Okie, Bard and Ramirez, but they'll need to add at least one, if not two, more RPs. Manny Delcarmen has been consistently mediocre and it may be time to move on, but he's making pennies to what you might have to pay for a FA reliever like Takashi Saito or Brandon Lyon. Holding onto Billy Wagner would be a nice move also, but his 2010 option is for $8M is very pricey and he's still debating retirement.
The Sox can keep Rocco Baldelli as the back-up outfielder, but Brain Anderson played well in his short time with Boston. Either guy will likely earn $1-2M max in 2010. Adding a 1B/OF like Kotsay or Kotchman will also be considered and a guy like that could cost $1-4M...
Lastly, the Red Sox will likely look at low-risk, high reward pitchers like Rich Harden, Erik Bedard and Ben Sheets this offseason. Like Smoltz and Penny in 2009, any one of these guys will likely sign a 1-year deal between $5M and $10M. In my chart, I assume that the Sox will sign one of these guys to add some depth to the rotation and plugged in $7M for salary.
That leaves us with Jason Bay.
As the chart indicates above, the Red Sox will hit the $120M mark without giving Bay a nickle. Theo Epstein will have to decide if he's willing to go beyond the $122M he spent in 2009 if he wants to keep Bay in Boston. The Sox spent $143+ in 2007 and won the World Series. They spent $133M+ in 2008. Keeping things simple, if Bay wants $15M per year, that would put the Sox at approximately $135M in 2010... a far cry from the $200M Yankees, but more than Theo seems comfortable spending these days.
Moving Lowell or Ortiz could free up more money, but both players are on the decline and the Sox would likely be forced to eat most of their 2010 contracts if they were to trade them - killing the point of the trade. That said, Tony reminds us that both Lowell and Ortiz will be off the books in 2010, so signing Bay now won't really tie up much money in 2010... but the Sox will need to find a new 3B and DH while debating an extension for Josh Beckett...
Bottom Line: The Sox won a Championship in 2004 with a $128M payroll, beating a $184M, 101-win Yankees squad in the process. You don't need a $200M payroll to win, but the Red Sox won't win it all in 2010 if they refuse to break the $125M barrier.
What do you guys think?
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