2013 Contract Issues: Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox are next in MLBTR’s 2013 Contract Issues series:

Eligible For Free Agency (9)

  • David Ortiz – Ortiz's desire for a multiyear deal is no secret, but the Red Sox may prefer to go year to year with the 36-year-old. They could make a qualifying offer after the season and assure themselves of draft pick compensation if Ortiz leaves. The $12-13MM salary that comes with a qualifying offer would represent a pay decrease for Ortiz, who earns $14.58MM this year. 
  • Daisuke Matsuzaka - The Red Sox expect Matsuzaka to return from Tommy John surgery this summer. His next contract will depend on how he pitches upon his return.
  • Marlon Byrd - The Red Sox brought the 34-year-old in after injuries depleted their depth, but their need for outfield help won't necessarily exist next offseason.
  • Bobby Jenks - Jenks has appeared in just 19 games since signing a two-year, $12MM contract two winters ago. There's not much reason to expect the Red Sox to offer him a guaranteed roster spot again.
  • Cody Ross - Ross has eight homers and an .883 OPS, so he's setting himself up for a starting role and a Major League contract in 2013.
  • Aaron Cook - Cook started one game for the Red Sox before the team placed him on the 15-day disabled list. At this point he's on track for another minor league deal.
  • Kelly Shoppach – Shoppach may be expendable given the presence of Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway.
  • Vicente Padilla - Padilla, who has more strikeouts than innings pitched, figures to sign a one-year or minor league deal next offseason.
  • Scott Podsednik - Podsednik and Byrd are in similar situations. They're contributing now with the knowledge that the Red Sox have a pair of star outfielders on the disabled list.

Contract Options (1)

  • Kevin Youkilis: $13MM club option with a $1MM buyout. Youkilis could be traded midseason now that Will Middlebrooks has emerged as an option for the big league team. But if he stays put and matches his career .878 OPS for the remainder of the season, the Red Sox could exercise the option.

Arbitration Eligible (14)

The Red Sox face a large arbitration class that includes many of the team's key players. Ellsbury and Bailey have been sidelined with injuries, so their raises will be modest. Others, such as Saltalamacchia, are on track for more substantial salary jumps. There's a good chance Tazawa will fall short of the service time requirements for eligibility at the end of the season and some players — Repko, for example — could be non-tendered.

2013 Payroll Obligation

The Red Sox have committed approximately $108MM to next year's payroll, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts. They are barely under the $178MM luxury tax threshold this year, and if they aim to avoid it again next year, GM Ben Cherington will have less than $70MM at his disposal this coming offseason.

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