The official luxury tax penalties have been released, and, for the second year in a row, the Red Sox narrowly avoided going over the $178 million threshold. According to the Associated Press, the Sox finished 2013 $225,666 short, despite a series of mid-season additions both expensive and cheap. The Yankees ($28 million penalty) and Dodgers ($11.4 million) -- who went over in large part to assuming almost all of the money owed to former Red Sox Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, and Nick Punto -- were the only two teams to pay the tax.
Jake Peavy was the most significant of Boston's mid-season pickups, with the Sox paying what remained on the $14.5 million owed to him for 2013. Had they shipped out a player making less than Jose Iglesias -- who was on the hook for over $2 million -- they likely would have had to pay the luxury tax. Like with Boston getting just under in 2012 thanks to the Nick Punto trade, though, the calculations worked out in their favor.
Plus, they won a World Series, and won't have to fork over revenue generated by that event to the luxury tax pool. It certainly would have been worth it to go over for a championship, but the Red Sox owners are likely far happier when they don't have to.
In addition, since the Red Sox were under the tax, their penalty level remains reset: should Boston go over in 2014 with a mid-season acquisition or before the off-season ends, they'll be taxed at the lowest rate like a first-time offender, unlike the Yankees, who were just handed a 50 percent tax rate on their spending over the threshold.