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The Red Sox would have to free up payroll to sign Roy Oswalt

Jan 16, 2012, 12:30 PM EDT

Roy Oswalt Reuters

Things that seem strange to me: (1) that no one has yet (that we know of) offered Roy Oswalt a contract; and (2) that, if the Red Sox are going to, they’re going to have to shed payroll first. Rob Bradford of WEEI:

… the Red Sox are taking the same stance with Oswalt as they did with Kuroda — in order to sign the pitcher at his current asking price a corresponding roster move would have to made in order to free up payroll.

He wants a one-year deal and will likely get, what, $8-9 million? I know business is business and the new Collective Bargaining Agreement makes hitting the luxury tax worse than it used to be, but t just seems strange to me to hear about the Red Sox having to do payroll gymnastics.

  1. mashoaf - Jan 16, 2012 at 12:40 PM

    The Mariners could use a Number 2 starter, that they could later use as trade bait at the deadline.

    • Jeremiah Graves - Jan 16, 2012 at 1:23 PM

      …this sound vaguely familiar.

    • Jeremiah Graves - Jan 16, 2012 at 1:23 PM

      …this sounds vaguely familiar.

    • Kyle - Jan 16, 2012 at 4:00 PM

      Yes, please.

  2. Jonny 5 - Jan 16, 2012 at 12:40 PM

    That’s easy, don’t resign Ortiz.

    • Glenn - Jan 16, 2012 at 12:49 PM

      Too late, they already agreed to arbitration. He’ll be making about two “Oswalts” next season.

      • Jonny 5 - Jan 16, 2012 at 12:56 PM

  3. phillieschamps2012 - Jan 16, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    Roy Oswalt is being unreasonable with his salary demands. He’s damaged goods. What makes him think he worth 8 mil a year with his injuries? Roy, do the right thing and go back to the Phillies for a couple of million. Otherwise, you are greedy and non-appreciative of what the Phillies did for you with your excused 3 week absence last year while you drove a excavator around.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jan 17, 2012 at 12:49 PM

      Not to go all stats crazy, but a guy with a career 3.58 xFIP, a 0.76 HR/9 and 50.2 WAR, injuries or not, is plenty worth $8 million.

      Make him a #3-4 starter, possibly skip a start or two during breaks, and he could be worth twice that.

  4. The Baseball Gods - Jan 16, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    Roy Oswalt is a huge risk at $8-9 million. He was basically contemplating retirement in the middle of last season due to an ongoing back problem. He is a short pitcher who relies a lot on his drive off of the mound to get his fastball up to his normal range. Back problems usually flare up from putting too much force on the lower half of your body. I wouldn’t give him anything north of $6 million for one year.

    • spudchukar - Jan 16, 2012 at 2:04 PM

      Not sure which is more appalling the inanities of your arm chair baseball proclamations or the foolishness of your medical prognostications.

  5. Jonny 5 - Jan 16, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    After letting Papelbon walk they still need to free up payroll for someone who will earn less than Papelbon did? What does this mean exactly?

    • Glenn - Jan 16, 2012 at 12:53 PM

      It’s more complex than that – a lot of guys have become arbitration eligible, Papelbon’s big contract doesn’t come of the Red Sox books because it was never on them in the first place, the luxury tax rules have changed, etc. That said, I can’t believe that they are hogtied by money constraints.

      • paperlions - Jan 16, 2012 at 1:07 PM

        Sure it was, he made $12M last year….they are saving about $11.5M on their closer over last year.

      • Jeremiah Graves - Jan 16, 2012 at 1:12 PM

        …and paying more than double what they did last year to Gonzo and Crawford.

        Peeps keep forgetting that Gonzo was still making his San Diego chump change last year. He makes big-boy money now.

  6. proudlycanadian - Jan 16, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    The Red Sox did have enough money to sign Vicente Padilla.

  7. Jack Marshall - Jan 16, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    I don’t get this at all. Drew’s contract is gone, and that was big. They are getting some insurance relief for Lackey and Dice-K, presumably. They saved money by not resigning Papelbon. Why wouldn’t the Red Sox have some flexibility now?

    • Ari Collins - Jan 16, 2012 at 12:56 PM

      Because everyone else on the roster gets a raise. They’re looking at a little over $170MM, more in AAV (for luxury tax purposes)

      • uyf1950 - Jan 16, 2012 at 2:24 PM

        Ari, right now if the Red Sox don’t add another player calculating the arbitration awards based on MLBTR and the players currently signed and rounding out the rest of the 40 man rotation fro, “scrubs” and including a very minimal amount for some potential incentives players might receive such as bonus for CY or MVP voting using MLB AAV for luxury tax calculations I have the Red Sox at just about $182MM+/-.

        Now is they sign a starting pitcher to a guaranteed ML contract or do anything in RF other then platoon 2 players already on the roster that $182MM number I just quoted can go up “substantially”.

    • Jeremiah Graves - Jan 16, 2012 at 1:08 PM

      Gonzo’s $16M raise is a big part of it and Crawford starts making $20M+ annually this year. Those two contracts kick in big time this year, last year they were paying them roughly $20M combined last year…now they’re making $42M+ combined.

      That’s a big part of it.

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jan 17, 2012 at 12:52 PM

        Which is why I hate, hate, hate big free agent contracts. Teams like the Rays & Rockies have the right idea.

  8. Ari Collins - Jan 16, 2012 at 12:58 PM

    Doesn’t sound like the Sox have enough money to get Oswalt, which is a shame. But not everyone has limitless spending, and $170MM isn’t exactly “going cheap,” even if it’s $30MM or so below the Yankees.

    Silva/Padilla/Cook/Aceves/Miller isn’t a bad #5 competition, and Matsuzaka will give them another option before too long.

    • paperlions - Jan 16, 2012 at 1:15 PM

      This is more of a choice by the RS not to spend money than a question of having it. Like they Yankees, they own a highly profitable RSN (well, 80% of it), they probably make more from their RSN than their payroll is each year (considering what Fox is paying for the Angels and Rangers broadcast rights, the Red Sox pretty much have to be making more than their payroll from their RSN). Anyway, this is the RS choosing not to spend money that they have….just like the Yankees saying they only have $1-2M for a DH….uh huh…I thought paying Jeter $17M per wasn’t supposed to affect anything?

      Sounds to me like both teams are choosing to reduce the amount of luxury tax they pay and the amount of revenue sharing in the league.

    • uyf1950 - Jan 16, 2012 at 3:11 PM

      Ari, I’m kind of a stickler for numbers when it comes to the teams payrolls. So in the interest of accuracy let’s just look at the most recent “official” salary numbers from MLB for the 2 teams based on MLB calculation for the luxury tax. That is 2011. As everyone should know. The Red Sox official 2011 payroll figures for MLB luxury tax purposes was: $189,400,000. The Yankees official 2011 payroll figures for MLB luxury tax purposes was $212,700,000. For a total difference of $23,300,000.

      Like I said I’m kind of a stickler for accuracy especially when the actual number exist.

      What the numbers for 2012 will be are yet to be determined. My guess is knowing what I know right now the difference between the 2 teams for the 2012 season will be pretty close to that same amount. But the difference could be slightly bigger.

  9. Ari Collins - Jan 16, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    Not sure how they could clear payroll. They don’t have a lot they can trade. Ortiz, maybe, if they eat some of the contract, and make DH a rotating thing? Youkilis, but they don’t have anyone to replace him, and he’s a pretty great value at $13MM. Scutaro, I suppose, and go with Iglesias, or a cheaper vet than Scoot, but that’s not a great solution either.

    • Jeremiah Graves - Jan 16, 2012 at 1:11 PM

      Can they just tear up the Lackey and Dice-K contracts?! It happens in movies all the time, so I’m assuming it’s a legitimate way to get out of a legally binding contract?!

  10. Jeremiah Graves - Jan 16, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    They’re still technically paying Lackey and Dice-K even though they won’t touch the field next year. That’s $26M for two guys who won’t contribute a lick to the Sox in 2012 (not that they’ve contributed much when they WERE on the field).

    I realize that insurance probably covers some of that, but it’s not going to take care of the whole cost there, plus they’ve got to figure out what’s up with Ortiz if they go the arbitration route and he makes $13+M or if they go for a two-year deal or something where he still figures to make $10+M per year.

    Toss in the raises from 2011-to-2012 for Gonzalez ($6.3M to nearly $22M), Crawford ($14.8M to $20.3M), Pedroia ($5.75M to $8.25M w/ a raise to more than $10M in 2013) and Lester ($5.7M to $7.6M w/ a raise to more than $11M in 2013) and the fact that Buchholz and Ellsbury are about to start making grown-up money and you’re looking at a lot of money that’s already squared away.

    …and I’d be remiss if I forgot to mention the $6M sunk cost that is Bobby Jenks.

    • bigharold - Jan 16, 2012 at 3:19 PM

      But. the RS not exceeding the luxury tax is nothing new. It’s been that way since John Henry took over the team. They displayed a complete unwillingness to be big spenders.

      The difference is now they find themselves boxed them selves into a couple of expensive long term contracts that aren’t paying off with Matsizaka, Lackey and, so far, Crawford. Add in the increases you mentioned and the draconian penalties of the new CBA and … voila! The RS are out of payroll.

      Take this and the recent report that the Yankees “only” have 1-2 mil for a DH and you can easily see that there may well be a profound effect of salary growth that the union isn’t going to like. On the other hand, I’ll bet the Royals and Rays are finding these recent Yankee/RS hardships amusing. It’ll be funny right up till the luxury tax money starts to dry up.

  11. randygnyc - Jan 16, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    Paperlions, isn’t it the teams prerogative to not want to continue paying usurious rates of luxury tax and revenue sharing? They aren’t obligated to prop up other failing organizations.

    • paperlions - Jan 16, 2012 at 2:25 PM

      Of course it is….I just said that they were making that choice, I didn’t judge it.

      As spud points out below, the Yankees need “failing” organizations….they have to play against someone, they Yankees entire value is based on their membership in the league…in contrast, the league would do just fine without the Yankees.

  12. spudchukar - Jan 16, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    Hey Randy, you seem confused about your team and the luxury tax. The Yankees et al, choose to be part of MLB. Nobody forces them to join. They need to be part of the MLB organization to be relevant. They need MLB, way more than MLB needs New York.

    When you choose to join an organization certain rules apply, like luxury tax. Bitch about it if you like. Try to convince other members of the unfairness if it suits you, but leave the “free-enterprise” blathering to the political ignorant.

    The majority of baseball owners currently believe that in order to maintain a somewhat level playing field, that enhance all members the ability to equally compete a cap on salaries is the fairest way to insure equity.

    Your “free-enterprise” position allows you to compete in the Mexican League, or show your teams talents in Korea, or even create your own league, where there is no luxury tax restrictions. But as long as you are a member of MLB, you have to play be their rules.

  13. spudchukar - Jan 16, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    The Cards are still nuts if they choose not to offer a deal to Oswalt for 8 mil, a team he wants to play for. GM Mozeliak reasoned that he was a ‘luxury they may not choose to pursue’, (I paraphrase).

    Were their striking deficiencies somewhere on the ball club this position would be more plausible. We all know that a team cannot have too much pitching, particularly accomplished starters. I cannot imagine any other acquisition, for the price, that could have such a positive input.

    The Cards have depth everywhere else. They have the available cash. Make the move. It would turn the off-season into one that could be viewed as positive. Without Oswalt, it is kind of a wash.

    • paperlions - Jan 16, 2012 at 2:28 PM

      I agree. If they get lucky and don’t have any injuries to the rotation, they might be able to give some time off to Wainwright and/or Oswalt so they can be more fresh for the playoffs. You can never have too much pitching…especially when Westbrook is currently considered a starter.

      • stex52 - Jan 16, 2012 at 2:44 PM

        Agreed. I have my doubts that Oswalt is good for 220 innings anymore. And I doubt he has more than a couple of innings in him. But I would not be surprised if he is still good for 150 innings or so of quality starts.

      • stex52 - Jan 16, 2012 at 4:29 PM

        “a couple of years” not “a couple of innings”. If only I could type coherently.

  14. randygnyc - Jan 16, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    Potato-tosser, I’m not in love with how the current system works. Go over the arbitrary caps, pay a fine. I can live with it though. What I can’t abide, is the unfounded resentment and or vitriolic expectations that the big market teams are expected to spend beyond these caps. Ultimately, these decisions are both economical and strategic. Furthermore, the new collective bargaining agreement passed with owner approval, but gave free spending teams an incentive to spend below the cap, one time over the next three years. The yankees will asuredly capitalize on that opportunity, and I’m sure, so will the red sox.

  15. randygnyc - Jan 16, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    Paper, I understood your comments with regards to jetted and his signing being a shot towards the yanks. Anyhow, that contract was signed before this new CB agreement. Yesterdays front office philosophies will now be different than tomorrows.

    And spud, I get that no MLB team is an island, but to say that if an owner wants to be in the league, follow the rules is silly. Some of these ownerships have been in place for decades since these new rules have come into effect. I know with certainty that the Yankees front office does NOT agree with the current revenue sharing/slurry cap system, so I’m not confused in the least.

    • spudchukar - Jan 16, 2012 at 3:14 PM

      Your comments confuse me. From other offers to this site, you contend you are “paying other teams salaries” and are forced to participate in an anti-capitalist environment. Now you are fine with a fine.

      Surely, you must recognize that any organization you belong to undergoes changes, ones that enhance viability. Your argument that you have some sort of “grandfather” protection is senseless. Could teams argue that they used to play without the DH, before the rule change, so therefore they shouldn’t have to abide by the rule adjustment?

  16. randygnyc - Jan 16, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    Spud, it’s not too hard to understand. I accept that the rules exist. I agree that the teams, in order to participate in the league, must comply. I don’t agree that they should be in effect, though. And I think that instead of pushing a fabricated, and forced parity, teams should compete to their own abilities. If a team can’t make it in Tampa, let em move. If an owner feels he’s not earning enough, let em sell.

  17. pisano - Jan 16, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    No problem, Boston figured if they sign Padilla they won’t worry about freeing up money for Oswalt.That’s a smart bunch up in beantown, it’s called “a ship of fools”

  18. muckthefets23 - Jan 16, 2012 at 5:52 PM

    Hey Jeremiah there is a way to just tear up contracts. It’s called the “Roger Dorn” method, you tear it up and then you take a piss on it. BAM, there you go! Lou Brown is a genius…

  19. bozosforall - Jan 17, 2012 at 11:52 AM

    The Red Sox should just pony up the money and go above the Yankees in payroll…otherwise they are going to suck even worse than they already do.

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