Tax Payroll: Trade Deadline Edition

With the impending trade deadline on July 30th, I thought I'd post an update to the detailed Red Sox Luxury Tax Payroll situation. This can help guide conversations on what the Sox can and cannot do. Or more accurately, what they are more likely to do.

Below you can find my tax payroll breakdown. In short, not a lot has changed since my May payroll update, but we now know the tax situation with more confidence because about 2 months have passed which reduces the uncertainty in the last few numbers in the table. More info on how this is all calculated can be found in the May update.


The end result is my model shows us merely $120k under the first threshold of the luxury tax penalties. It's clear the Sox have structured this team to stay under this threshold this year. But has the team's success changed their mind? Will they blow through this threshold to acquire more talent? Or will they only work around the edges and try to stay under the threshold? I'm guessing the latter, but that they'll try to get creative to bring in some moderately helpful talent without adding payroll.

In reality, just staying put isn't a smart option. We're actually too close to the threshold for comfort. There are just too many unknowns that could "accidentally" put them over the threshold, e.g. injuries and bonuses. While they do have some control over bonuses (e.g. playing Marwin Gonzalez less), I think they are a little close for comfort and might look to shed a little salary if at all possible. If Marwin wasn't hurt, I'd have guessed they'd try to include him in some sort of package for just a little salary relief. They don't need much, but shedding $500k or more would add a lot of breathing room. Perhaps Marwin gets healthy in time to be included on a deadline deal.

So what do you think they'll do at the deadline? Please post below.