The Red Sox have made a habit of staying at or under the luxury tax threshold. Really, you wouldn't be far off base calling it a de facto salary cap, however soft.
This year, however, John Henry says that he can't see money being an issue at the deadline. Probably. Maybe. Via Sean McAdam of CSN New England:
"I can't see it being an issue," said Henry, in attendance at Angel Stadium as the Red Sox and Los Angeles Angeles of Anaheim completed their three-game series Sunday. "I suppose there might be some (larger) salaries that we couldn't take on, but it just doesn't come up as an issue."
"We don't have issues because we got under the (luxury tax threshold) last year," said Henry. "So we don't have an issue going over because that's only when you go over two years in a row (when significant penalties kick in)."
As he looked out at the Red Sox preparing for the series finale, Henry added: "I'll tell you what is an issue: Do you really want to change this team that much?"
So, hey, it sounds like they're willing to go over the threshold, which is good news. But man, that's an awful lot of wiggle room Henry threw in there. Some "larger salaries we couldn't take on" could mean they're not looking to take Ryan Howard's albatross deal off of Philadelphia's hands as part of a larger Cliff Lee deal, or it could mean Cliff Lee simply represents too much inflexibility in his own right.
Then there's that little bit at the end there. Yeah, sure, it sounds like an offhand bit of fluff from Henry, but it could also just be setting up an excuse for a possible flop at the deadline.
Alright, alright, that's reading way too much into it. Still, though, it wouldn't be at all surprising if the Red Sox flew under the radar at the deadline, adding helpful pieces but not making the largest splash by any means. Even when they are big players, they've been reluctant to shell out top prospects in return for expensive veterans, opting instead for that second tier of player who requires second tier returns. Victor Martinez instead of CC Sabathia, for instance.
Only time will tell if they stay true to form, but to make a long story short, don't be surprised if money isn't an issue because they don't approach their makeshift cap.
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