March 1, 2021

What Do the Red Sox Actually Save by Trading Betts, Price? (FanGraphs)


Now that the Red Sox have actually traded Mookie Betts (and his salary) and David Price (and half of his salary), Boston has followed through on its intentions to significantly reduce payroll. Much has been made of the Red Sox’s desire to stay under the competitive balance tax threshold. In September, team owner John Henry said this:

“This year we need to be under the CBT [competitive balance tax] and that was something we’ve known for more than a year now,” he said. “If you don’t reset, there are penalties, so we’ve known for some time now we needed to reset as other clubs have done.”

Then, in January, Henry said this:

I think every team probably wants to reset at least once every three years.

Henry’s full remarks from January also include an assertion that competitiveness is more important than getting under the tax threshold, although the team’s eventual trade of Mookie Betts strongly undercuts that argument. According to our calculations on the RosterResource Red Sox payroll page, Boston’s payroll for the competitive balance tax is roughly $199 million, nearly $10 million under the first $208 million competitive balance tax threshold. If the Red…

Read “What Do the Red Sox Actually Save by Trading Betts, Price?” at FanGraphs