The Red Sox’s Future Payroll Obligations

A few days ago the Red Sox freed up more than a quarter-billion dollars in the future payroll obligation with their blockbuster nine-player trade with the Dodgers. Nine-figure commitments to Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford are suddenly off the books, as is a short-term but still substantial commitment to Josh Beckett. GM Ben Cherington essentially hit the reset button on the club's payroll situation.

A few hours after the trade we broke down the Dodgers' future payroll obligations, which are up to $88.5MM in 2017. Now let's turn the tables and look at what the Red Sox still have on the books going forward, which is a pittance compared to their trade counterpart. With a big assist from Cot's Baseball Contracts, here is an unofficial recap of Boston's guaranteed commitments (salaries and buyouts only, not arbitration or pre-arbitration players)…

  • 2013 ($42.938MM)John Lackey ($15.25MM), Jon Lester ($11.625MM), Dustin Pedroia ($10MM), Clay Buchholz ($5.5MM), Jose Iglesias (approximately $563K)
  • 2014 ($33.2MM) — Lackey ($15.25MM), Pedroia ($10MM), Buchholz ($7.7MM), Lester ($250K buyout)
  • 2015 ($12.5MM) — Buchholz ($12MM), Pedroia ($500K buyout)
  • 2016 ($245K) — Buchholz ($245K buyout)

The Red Sox will have a massive 11-player arbitration class next season, though not all will be tendered contracts. Jacoby Ellsbury, Andrew Bailey, Alfredo Aceves, Daniel Bard, and Franklin Morales highlight those 11 players. Other than that, Cherington will have plenty of room to work with going forward, especially if ownership is willing to maintain the same $160MM+ payroll they've had the last three seasons.

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