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Checking in on the Red Sox payroll

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Here’s where Boston stands heading into the offseason.

MLB: Spring Training-Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Baseball’s offseason doesn’t get into full-swing until every team in the league has stopped playing, which means we still have at least a couple weeks before player movement begins. Of course, that doesn’t mean the preparation doesn’t start until then. Teams and their rosters are obviously a full-year job, and front offices are constantly thinking years ahead in every move they make. Since the Red Sox got eliminated, though, you can be sure that Dave Dombrowski and company really got serious about outlining their various plans for the upcoming winter.

Although Boston’s roster has a lot to like about it and puts them in an enviable position compared to most of the league, there are still changes and moves that need to be made. Chief among them is finding a new manager, which Dombrowski is already working towards. He interviewed Alex Cora on Sunday, the same day he requested permission to speak with current Diamondbacks bench coach and former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire.

After they do come to an agreement with whoever their future manager may be, the focus will turn to the players. As always, budgetary concerns will be at play. The Red Sox shouldn’t have to stay under the luxury tax this year as they reset those penalties by remaining under the threshold in 2017, but they still won’t want to completely blow by that mark either. With that in mind, below is a table looking at the team’s current payroll for the 2018 season. Note that salaries for multi-year deals are reflective of their Average Annual Value, which is what counts towards the luxury tax. Additionally, salaries for arbitration-eligible players are from the MLB Trade Rumors projections and salaries for pre-arbitration players are simply set at the major-league minimum for now. Finally, all salaries are in the millions of dollars.

Red Sox Payroll 2018

Player Salary
Player Salary
David Price 31
Hanley Ramirez 22
J.D. Martinez 22
Rick Porcello 20.625
Dustin Pedroia 14.167
Craig Kimbrel 12
Chris Sale 11.5
Eduardo Nuñez 4
Mitch Moreland 6.5
Drew Pomeranz 8.5
Mookie Betts 10.5
Xander Bogaerts 7.05
Jackie Bradley Jr. 6.1
Eduardo Rodriguez 2.375
Joe Kelly 3.825
Tyler Thornburg 2.05
Brock Holt 2.25
Sandy Leon 1.95
Steven Wright 1.1
Christian Vazquez 1.45
Carson Smith 0.85
Brandon Workman 0.835
Andrew Benintendi 0.545
Roenis Elias 0.545
Matt Barnes 0.545
Robby Scott 0.545
Rafel Devers 0.545
Marco Hernandez 0.545
Brian Johnson 0.545
Tzu-Wei Lin 0.545
Austin Maddox 0.545
Deven Marrero 0.545
Blake Swihart 0.545
Sam Travis 0.545
Hector Velazquez 0.545
Bryce Brentz 0.545
Williams Jerez 0.545
Jalen Beeks 0.545
Chandler Shepherd 0.545
Ty Buttrey 0.545
Pablo Sandoval 19
Benefits 14
Total $235.44

So, as we stand now, the Red Sox are a little under $9 million under the luxury tax threshold for 2018. There are two takeaways from this fact. For one, they almost certainly have to go over this mark if they want to improve this team — and particularly the lineup — in a significant way. Secondly, if they don’t want to go over this threshold, that means they will have to make a trade or two involving some important pieces to the major-league roster. There are ways that can work and be a positive, but worrying about the luxury tax doesn’t seem prudent for a team in Boston’s situation.

This table and the financial situation as a whole will be updated as official salaries come out and players are added and removed from Boston’s roster. Additionally, please point out any errors you may find.