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.

42 Responses to 2013 Contract Issues: Boston Red Sox Leave a Reply

  1. A lot of money to play around with this off season! I love it!
    Hopefully make a strong push for Cole Hamels.

    • Devern Hansack 3 years ago

      I’d much rather get Zack Greinke. He has been significantly better than Hamels from age 23 on, is younger, and Fenway has always been notoriously harsh to lefty pitchers.

      • Paul Shailor 3 years ago

        Greinke likes the smaller markets though, I could see him shying away from the boston/ny markets for that reason. Also I would be wary of him handling it if I was a gm. Of course if the sox just blow away all other offers he would probably take it. 

  2. johnsilver 3 years ago

    Other than Ells and possible chance of Salty.. None of the arbitration eligible players will make north of 5m next season and that includes Bailey with the thumb injury now. Should they move Ells over the winter, they can resign all the ones who help the team and release/nontender the pair who don’t before (mcDonald/Repco) if not during the 2012 season even.

    Many on the FA list will be allowed to gladly walk. Can only see some interest in Ross and Ortiz.. Maybe Shoppach if he isn’t traded during the season, or for some reason they want Lavarnway at Pawtucket yet another season. The rest (maybe not Matsuzaka) will gladly show the door, if not sooner than 2013 and that includes Padilla and his jr version of the ephus pitch as well.

    • they should definitely keep aviles, hes fairly young, hitting well, and playing well-above average defense. Or we could let him walk and lose another reliable shortstop

      • MaineSox 3 years ago

        Aviles is under team control for a couple more years after this one, so he’ll be around unless he’s traded, which I doubt.

  3. Paul Shailor 3 years ago

    Yea they have 70mm to play around with, however given their recent luck with FA I wonder if they would go all in on a FA again. I personally think it depends on where they finish. If they finish 4th or 5th in the division I could see the fans wanting blood and a fix it now solution. If however they make the playoffs the pressure will still be there but not as great. I could see them not wanting to go big on a FA given their recent history of getting burned. 

    • LazerTown 3 years ago

      It depends who you sign, I didn’t realize crawford would be this bad, but I knew he was way overpaid, and regardless fenway doesn’t need a very fast lfer.  Lackey again, why did they give him so much money for a guy that gets ~3.5 era.  Buchholz i wouldnt have given so much money after only 1 good year, but to be fair, he was coming off of a very very good season.

      It all comes down to giving the player contracts based on the value they provide to your team, not worrying about being outbid.  If you up the value because you worry about being outbid you just lose money later.

      • Paul Shailor 3 years ago

        Aside from hamels, I dont like the SP market for big dollar items for  Boston. I could see them overpaying for marcum though since he has AL east experience. 

  4. UltimateYankeeFan 3 years ago

    With all due respect, Cot’s does not show all 40 players in their calculation or the approximately $10MM MLB uses for benefits, etc, in the teams calculation of AAV to calculate the teams luxury tax.  The Red Sox were over the luxury tax in 2011 and they are over the luxury tax for this season when you add in the items I mentioned. Their payroll for MLB AAV Luxury Tax purposes for this year is already about $185MM.  And that’s assuming they do nothing at the trade deadline.

    • Steve_in_MA 3 years ago

      You are quite correct.  Base pay on paper at the start of the season was $173MM before guys like Cook and Padilla qualified for their MLB salaries, before Byrd came on board, before guys like Middlebrooks and Nava jumped from $65K to the MLB minimum, and before any 6-yr. F/A bonuses became due at May 1.  I actually have the total 2012 BoSox AAV projected at $189MM, including the $10.7MM for benefits.  Likewise, I don’t think the $108MM projection is sound, but if I’m not mistaken, the luxury tax threshhold increases by several million for 2013.

  5. Prediction – Ortiz will finish the year with a .280/.370/.540 line and will settle for another 1 year deal in the $13M to $15M range.

    • elclashcombo 3 years ago

      And he’ll still feel “disrespected”.

  6. Fangaffes 3 years ago

    My predictions:
    – Ortiz, Ross, and Padilla will return. The Sox really want a position player as DH, but Ortiz keeps being too good to get rid of.  Ross would have to be as dumb as Jason Bay to leave Fenway.
    – Byrd, Shoppach, and Youk will be traded in July for either prospects or with pitching for better pitching.
    – Jenks, Cook, and Podsednik will not be back and would get no value in a trade.
    – Matsuzaka … who knows?  If Valentine can say the magic Japanese phrase to make him remember how to pitch, rather than nibble, maybe he has a future.

    • MaineSox 3 years ago

      I doubt Ross returns next year.  With Crawford, Ellsbury, and Kalish around he’d be relegated to the bench and I don’t think him being a bench player would be beneficial to him or to the Red Sox.

      I also doubt that Padilla will be back, he would presumably prefer to start and Boston wont have a spot in the rotation for him; and if he is in the ‘pen his best role would be as a long reliever, and there are better/cheaper options for that role.

      • johnsilver 3 years ago

         Ross would have the potential to offer the best 4th OF since crisp was around. That equals him not being around next season.

        A further issue is that both Kalish and Sweeny being lefties. Boston will be in the market (somewhere) for a RH hitter to balance that out.

        Shame that both Kalish and Sweeny have the combo of best gloves and arms of the quartet involving Kalish/Sweeney/Ells and CC, as someone needs to be the RF and easiest solution is via trade.. Willingham has always been someone have always wanted, but probably will never happen and like you said.. Ross has shown already what he can do in a stadium (for once) where numbers are not heavily skewed towards pitching and will be looking for a starter role after the season.

        Still.. Would be great if Cherrington would make the younger Ross a decent.. Say 2/10-12m offer after the season to platoon in RF and fillin the other positions. He could still get 500PA and as you know… I am not adverse to moving Ells anyway.. Ross would be cheaper..

        • MaineSox 3 years ago

          The only problem with moving Ellsbury is that he’s the only true CF of the bunch (well, I still say Crawford could be in CF, but I don’t know that they will do that).

        • Crucisnh 3 years ago

          JS, I agree that the Sox OF would be too lefty if they go with 3 LH’d OF’ers.  The Sox need to try to get back to having some L/R balance for their lineup, and Ross seems like a good fit for Fenway.

          • MaineSox 3 years ago

            I don’t think that that is nearly as big of a problem as people seem to think it is.  Ortiz, Gonzalez, and Ellsbury all hit lefties well, and they would still have Youk/WMB at 3B, Aviles/Iglesias at SS, Salty/Shoppach/Lavarnway at C, and Pedroia at 2B all hitting right handed.

            If Ellsbury comes back and plays well enough to keep his value way up and you can trade him for a huge haul in the offseason, and assuming Crawford would be willing to play CF, and it makes the team better overall, then I could see it as a possibility (or if Kalish is used as part of a package in a trade), but I certainly don’t see it as a problem or something that needs to be fixed.

          • johnsilver 3 years ago

             Something about 3 lefties in the OF and the most viable 4th being a lefty as well, or if both Kalish and Ells/Sweeney are around next season.

            The reason and all-in for moving Ells are for pure monetary reasons and partially dependent on what you posted.. He comes back and has a fairly strong 2nd half. Boston must move RH Bradley up soon to Portland and get him ready in another season and a half (or less) also. Then at least they would get a guy who gets on base and has a good glove to play CF.

            Signing Ross for 2 years at close to half of what Ells will make via arbitration over the winter for 1 season IMO makes good sense for a team close to hitting the cap and has little intention of signing the guy long term any way with Boras as an agent and admit it or not? Has had 2 odd injuries now that have sidelined him for very long extended periods and the FO is going to be loathe to pay out a 20m AAV over 6-8 years for that.. It just ain’t gonna happen.. THAT is the kind of person you trade away while the trading is good.

          • MaineSox 3 years ago

            Ross is a nice player, but Ellsbury could have (should have IMO) won the MVP award last year, and Ross isn’t a center fielder.  If they can make the team better by trading Ellsbury, and Crawford is willing to play CF then fine, but there is no way you trade Ellsbury just to save a few million dollars and to “balance” the lineup.

          • johnsilver 3 years ago

             Course Ross isn’t a CF.. I know that as well as anyone watching him most of his career 😉 Sweeney/Kalish can play it by default, even Ross can fill in some until..Say Bradley is ready for a season. It’s why they try and sign Ross for 2 years at 10-12m and move Ells.

            Gimme a second here and get an ulterior motive…

            You want a top pitcher all the time..Correct? Boston has a decent replacement it looks like on the warpath (literally) at high A ball already who already needs to be at Portland. Let Sweeny/Ross/Kalish for *1* season fill the role.. Take the 6-10m next year saved there and other money coming off the books and THEN target that top SP you are always wanting.. Hamels, Grienke, even Sanchez.. It’s the only way I see it.

            They can afford to lose Ells, even without Bradley emerging and get another top dog SP with the cash saved.

          • MaineSox 3 years ago

            Sweeney and Kalish can cover CF, but they aren’t guys you would want playing there everyday.  And with the money they already have coming off the books they really don’t need to move Ellsbury to be able to afford one of those starting pitchers.

            I’m really not completely against trading Ellsbury, but the circumstances have to be right (high enough value, and a sufficient replacement in CF [Crawford if he’ll move]).  What I’m completely against is them doing it just to save money and/or make the lineup more balanced; it has to be a deal that makes the team better (I might even be fine if it’s in top tier prospects that don’t necessarily make the team better immediately).

          • johnsilver 3 years ago

             I really don’t see CC moving there, but if they could have a sit down and work it out with him, when he was against it while with the Rays even.. It would sure be a coup.. Then he would almost have to understand (informed) it would only be for a year or 2 until bradley hopefully emerges and he could move back to LF again.

            The moving of Ells is totally dependent on his returning 2nd half of 2012 and being strong. if he falters, then of course he has little to no trade value and my theories are all out the window. Yes.. CC moves to CF and Ross/Sweeny/Kalish is a superb OF flanking crawford and the best of possible choices, but he didn’t want to play there with Tampa and moving there under the intense media scrutiny in NE may make him even more adverse to it.

            Moving Ells is the easiest way I could come up with to getting into top rotational fixes, also probably moving Youk as well and it also calls for him playing strong until the end of July when am thinking he will be moved.

            They should have a decent amount of flexibility with those 2 and matsuzaka off the payroll alone.

          • Crucisnh 3 years ago

            MS, I guess it’s not merely a balance in the raw number of L’s vs. R’s. I’d like to see more of the team’s serious producing hitters be righty. Pedrioa is a nice RH hitting 2B, but I’d like to see someone with more oomph to complement Youk/WMB on the RH side of the plate as middle of the order hitters.

          • MaineSox 3 years ago

            I’d honestly be a little surprised if Lavarnway wasn’t behind the plate next year, and he could (would) be that guy.

      • Fangaffes 3 years ago

        Good points.  On the other hand, there’s no surer way to get a starting job than to be a backup for Crawford and Ellsbury.

        • MaineSox 3 years ago

          Or anyone in Boston’s outfield; just be careful because it’s contagious.

  7. Trading ellsbury makes 0 sense, you dont trade your all star(almost mvp) center fielder to save some money or make things more balanced, or to make room for bradley, guess what in a few years when bradley comes up, whats wrong with putting him or ellsbury in right?
    I say Bring back ross, fenway is just the place he will excell.
    As much as i hate to say it youk needs to be traded, middlebrooks is just that good. get the best prospects you can out of youk, preferably pitching.
    keep aviles playing SS until iglasias learns how to hit
    dont go after a big name pitcher unless its hamels, and see how dicek comes back this year, he will b much cheaper this time around if we brought him back as a 5 starter next year behind bucholtz beckett lester and doubrount 

  8. Laurie Ann Munson 3 years ago

    We’re not going fishing in the free agent market for pitching.  If everyone comes back from injuries we have Lester, Beckett, Buchholz, Lackey, Doubrount, & Bard for 5 slots in the rotation.  Jenks, Shoppach, Dice K & Youk will be gone.  Ortiz is a coin flip.  I think the organization would like to use the DH to rotate players in and out of it, but to be honest, nobody outside of Adrian Gonzalez has a shot at 30+ home runs.  It’s just unfortunate that most all of the speed the Red Sox have in Crawford & Ellsbury is on the DL.  They’re hanging in there at the moment and they could make a run once everyone gets healthy.  We shall see!

  9. hawkny1 3 years ago

    Kalish?  Why do people think he will be vying for a job in Boston next year?  He is currently playing A ball…and, if lucky might see Pawtucket again, in September…

    If the Red Sox do not go out and get a RF’er in the off season… it will be Crawford, Ellsbury, Nava, Sweeney, and Ross (alternating) with perhaps someone like Lin as 6thOF/pinch runner/defensive specialist come April 1,2013…

    I personally think they will find a RF somewhere else other than the current roster
    next winter.  

    • MaineSox 3 years ago

      Wait, what? Why?  Kalish is a 5-tool player (he might not have a true ‘plus’ tool, but they are all average or better, which is what 5-tool means: above average power [potential to be plus as he reaches his peak], solid average hit, above average speed, above average defense, and solid average arm); the only reason he is in A ball is because he is on a rehab assignment.  If he had started the year healthy they wouldn’t have gone out and signed Ross, Kalish would have been their RF this year, so there’s really no reason to think he wont be their RF next year.

  10. Whole Season gone and red sox got only “The Loss”

  11. Devern Hansack 3 years ago

    Ah, my mistake. MLBTR has Greinke listed as 28 and Hamels as 29 heading into the 2013 season. I was floored myself when I saw the Hamels/Greinke FIP chart on Fangraphs.

  12. MaineSox 3 years ago

    We don’t really know if those things are still an issue for him or not; we haven’t heard anything about it for a while and it is something that can be overcome.  My brother has/had the same social anxiety disorder but has overcome it as he got older and was able to work through it; that’s not to say that Greinke has, only that he can/could have.

    The only person who could really know is him, so if I were a team in need of pitching I would offer him a contract and put it in his hands (if he doesn’t think he can handle it he wouldn’t likely take the contract).

  13. MaineSox 3 years ago

    That would just make Aviles a very good utility guy, he’s under team control regardless of what they do with Iglesias.

  14. MaineSox 3 years ago

    He’s in Salem, not Lowell.  He’s absolutely destroying high-A pitching, and his defense is going to be great no matter where he is playing.

  15. Paul Shailor 3 years ago

    Right, but would you trust making a 100mm investment to a guy who has never pitched under the spotlight of boston, or had to live up to the huge contract? It gets into player’s heads who dont have the issues he has had. Not saying everyone is the same, obviously that is not the case but still if I was boston I would pass on him. Look how Carl Crawford handled the pressure. 

  16. MaineSox 3 years ago

    Carl Crawford has one bad year, there’s no way to know if it had anything to do with his contract or playing in Boston.

    I get what you’re saying about giving Greinke that kind of money, but for one I don’t know if it would actually take that kind of money specifically because people will be worried about his past issues, and if he is able to handle the pressure he could easily be worth a lot more than what you are paying him.  Getting sufficient value out of your money might be more of a concern with him, but it isn’t a different concern than you would have with any big free agent contract – I, for one, think Greinke has a better chance of living up to his potential contract than a lot of guys who don’t have those issues in their past ever had (Werth, Craword, Lackey, Wells, Howard, Zito etc. all had less chance to live up to their contracts – even at the time their contracts were signed – than Greinke likely will).

  17. Paul Shailor 3 years ago

    I think Crawford would have done better in a less stressful environment, he was pushing it to try and live up to the contract and was failing. Mounted with the criticism. He could adjust fine later this year but last year he failed.  

    I figured if the brewers offered him 85mil which is a good contract but a bit on the low end for him then Boston would need to go over the top to land him. All indications are he likes MIL, so an even offer he would probably pick them. Who knows though. I agree with you on him living up to his contract more than those awful contracts, however if he signs with Boston I do think the pressure is a valid concern as it is with every big money FA. 

    I think the Red Sox would be wise to stay out of the FA SP market this year, at least in the upper tier. Hamels will be inflated like no other with NYY, LAD, and who knows going after him and Greinke has anxiety issues. You could be right, he could be 100% and everything, but he says some things in interviews and whatnot that would get torn apart by Boston’s media circus. You just have more faith in Greinke than I do, that is all this really comes down to.

  18. MaineSox 3 years ago

    Honestly, out of all the potential options in the offseason I think Anibal Sanchez makes the most sense, so it’s not like I’m pushing for them to sign Greinke.  I just think the anxiety issues are overblown sometimes.

  19. johnsilver 3 years ago

     I am all for Anibel :-)

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