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The Red Sox are willing to add payroll to improve the pitching staff

Apr 7, 2012, 12:03 PM EDT

Boston Red Sox Introduce Bobby Valentine Getty Images

We’re only one game into the season and there are already many questions about the Red Sox pitching staff. Andrew Bailey‘s recent thumb surgery has unexpectedly pushed Alfredo Aceves into the closer role while Daniel Bard and Felix Doubront are holding down the final two spots in the starting rotation.

It’s much too soon make any judgements about whether these moves will be successful, but Red Sox president Larry Lucchino told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe that he’s willing to increase the payroll to improve the pitching staff.

One obvious target is Roy Oswalt, who the Red Sox courted during the offseason. He’s currently aiming for a midseason return with a contender. His possible addition would potentially allow Bard or Doubront to move to the bullpen. The Red Sox have also had their eye on free agent reliever Mike Gonzalez, though he may eventually be redundant with Rich Hill on the comeback trail from Tommy John surgery. Of course, they could also increase payroll via a trade before the deadline.

The Red Sox began the season with a payroll of approximately $173 million and Lucchino said during an appearance on MLB Network Radio that he expects the team to be over the luxury tax threshold regardless.

“Our goal is to field a team with more homegrown players, fewer free agents, and to have a more manageable payroll down the road. But if you’re asking about this year, we understand that each year has to be taken on its own and this year our payroll is going to be, I’d hate to make a guess, but it’ll be well over the $178 million dollar threshold.’’

Similar to the Yankees, the Red Sox are tightening their belts with the new collective bargaining agreement in mind. With taxes shooting sky high, they can get a rebate on some luxury tax payments if they get under the threshold just once and will only be taxed as a first-time offender if they go back over in a future season.

  1. spudchukar - Apr 7, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    What this just occurred to them?

    • sabatimus - Apr 7, 2012 at 1:05 PM

      Yeah really. Why not do this BEFORE the season? I think they were trying to subvert the luxury tax–yeah I know, that’s an idiotic thing for the Sox to do.

  2. brokea$$lovesmesomeme - Apr 7, 2012 at 12:30 PM

    The Rocket and Rocker are waiting by the phone

    • brewcitybummer - Apr 8, 2012 at 12:49 AM

      Do they have phones in meth labs?

  3. yournuts - Apr 7, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    I don’t think that Roy Oswalt and Bobby Valentine are a good fit. I see him back in the National League where he knows the hitters.

  4. mntreehugger - Apr 7, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    Wait…Rich Hill is on a MLB roster?

  5. randygnyc - Apr 7, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    I agree about oswalt. I think he knows the end is near and will likely wait for the middle of the season, and the teams to establish themselves in the standings, before deciding. I expect he’ll want to go to a NL division leader. You know, the easiest, softest route to the post season.

  6. sumerduckman - Apr 7, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    John Lannon can give you guys a bunch of innings. Lefty, under 4 era, nice guy,call Mike Rizzo.

  7. drewzducks - Apr 7, 2012 at 10:09 PM

    This is beyond laughable. Was happy to see Theo and his inflated contracts head out of town but there seems to be no master, long term thinking with this current group. This has Lucchino’s finger prints all over it. His short term manager and now after having apparently handcuffed his in over his head GM with a payroll roll back, he says it’s ok to increase payroll? On what exactly? Oswalt has made it pretty clear he has no interest in coming here. I guess they can overpay for someoneelses bad contract/deadweight except that I thought we had already cornered the market in that.

  8. bozosforall - Apr 8, 2012 at 11:03 AM

    Red Sox trying to buy a title, just like they did in 2004 and 2007. Not going to work this time.

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