The Red Sox have the league’s fourth-highest payroll, at $193.7 million per the Google-topping SporTrac, but it’s entirely possible that the market value of their team is the highest in baseball. With the notable exception of Pablo Sandoval, virtually every Red Sox player is paid either at or far, far below market value, in some cases so much so as to be hilarious. I’m actually laughing about it, right now.
One could, in fact, assemble a roster of all the Red Sox currently paid at less than half of their potential market values and you’d still have a core that could win you the World Series. That is excellent for fans, but less good for those players. It also begs the question: Who’s the best bargain on the Sox?
Spoiler alert: It’s Mookie Betts. For as great as every other contract is on the following list, Betts at $950,000 for 2017 is a preposterous deal, likely the best in the league. Given that his best competition for this encomium might actually come in-house, the Sox are in a great position, Price injury or no. Here are best contracts on the Sox, per Cot, including Mookie’s, over which you may drool:
2017 Salary: $12 million
5 years/$32.5M (2013-17), plus 2018-19 options
I wanted to rank this one ahead of Mookie’s, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. $12 million is still $12 million, and as much as I’d like to deny it, there’s a chance Sale could go the Zito/Sabathia/Price route and muddle through the back half of his career, especially given the fact he’s a six-foot-tall professional athlete who weighs less than I do.
All that said, holy shit! I hope Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech are really good for the White Sox, honest, because trading that contract is all sorts of bananas and, in the wake of Price’s injury scare, especially valuable. Short of “stealing” Clayton Kershaw for, like, $20 million, you don’t get a better deal on an ace than this.
1 year/$4.5 million
The fun thing about this list is that the deals only get better as the contracts get smaller, which isn’t as obvious as it sounds and is notable because of how good the deals are at the “high” end. Bogey at $4.25 million is crazy, and on a worse team it could be the pinnacle of efficiency. Instead, like so many of the Sox’s cost-controlled deals, it’s an example of how the rules designed to protect the masses (most players) can, at least temporarily, eat into the earnings of exceptional young players.
1 year/$4.45 million
This one’s on the down-low, and it’s the one that allowed the Red Sox to trade Clay Buchholz.
Jackie Bradley Jr.
1 year/$3.6 million
The fielding alone pays for it. Honestly, it probably pays for more. For all the (my) talk about Bradley’s painfully inconsistent offense, the glove is always going to be the selling point. I think the general consensus is that Bradley is due for some regression at the plate, especially given his disappoint back two-thirds of a season, and while that’s a legitimate potential concern for both the Sox and your fantasy team, it means butt from a value perspective.
Brock Holt \o/
1 year/$1.95 million
The Super Sub is paid less than a super two million, which is pretty rad. There is a wee chance we overrate the lad, sure, but his value is better than that of [looks who is paid slightly more] Fernando Abad, for sure. Much love to Abad like Barry Z. before him, and I also acknowledge that the league has long had a difficulty pricing positional flexibility into its contracts, cost-controlled or not. Holt is the Sox’s Troy Brown, or close enough to it to make this a huge value.
He’s free to be the greatest, he’s alive
He’s free to be the greatest here tonight, the greatest
The greatest, the greatest alive
The greatest, the greatest alive
[repeat x 25]
Under the radar here. While the market for non-closer relievers is apparently as depressed as Dellin Betances’ arbitrator says, logic dictates that setup men are systematically undervalued. Smith hasn’t gotten to pitch much for the Sox, but when he does, he’s going to be revelatory, and worth about 10 pennies to every cent he actually earns.
1 year/whatever he wants at the ice cream shop
It is astounding that Benintendi’s contract isn’t the best for the team, but we live in astounding times. This may be seriously burying the lede, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable that Benintendi wins the MVP, and I mean this season. It’s unlikely, but if you can get odds on it, take those odds.
All of that and he still isn’t a better deal than Mookie. Life is good.