2011 Contract Issues: Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox face four contractual options after the season:

  • Designated hitter David Ortiz has a $12.5MM club option.  This will be declined.
  • Third baseman Adrian Beltre has a $5MM player option that increases to $10MM with 640 plate appearances.  It'll be tough to reach that plate appearance benchmark, and if the option remains at $5MM it'll be an easier choice for Beltre to decline.  He gets a $1MM buyout for reaching 575 PAs. 
  • Bill Hall has a $9.25MM club option with a $500K buyout.  Doug Melvin signed Hall to this extension in February of '07.  Here in 2010, Theo Epstein won't be considering the option.
  • Reliever Scott Atchison has a $440K club option with a $10K buyout.  He's currently with Pawtucket.

The Sox have four additional free agents: Mike Lowell, Victor Martinez, Jason Varitek, and Scott Schoeneweis.  They earn a total of $23.2MM this year.  Around $46MM will come off the books if everyone leaves.  There are also a few decreases to consider – $2MM for Tim Wakefield if he fails to reach 130 innings, and $6.25MM for John Lackey assuming his signing bonus was paid up front.  2010 obligations to former players total $10.5MM (Julio Lugo, Billy Wagner, and Alex Gonzalez).  If everyone leaves, and we add in the decreases and money to former players, the Red Sox free up around $64.75MM.  I assume things look different for luxury tax purposes, but we're keeping it simple.

The Red Sox have five players under contract getting raises: Kevin Youkilis, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jon Lester, Dustin Pedroia, and Josh Beckett.  Those raises total $10.525MM.  Boston also has Jacoby Ellsbury going to arbitration for the first time, Hideki Okajima, Ramon Ramirez, Manny Delcarmen, and Boof Bonser in the second-time group, and Jonathan Papelbon and Jeremy Hermida as third-timers.  We'll assume this results in $10MM worth of raises. 

By my estimate, the Red Sox would have more than $40MM to work, holding payroll steady.  It's more complicated than what I've done here, but they'll be able to address catcher, third base, and designated hitter without a big payroll increase.

Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the info.