April 5, 2009
WHERE HAVE YOU GONE, STICK MICHAEL?:
Shrewd Red Sox may pay less for more in 2009 (DANIEL BARBARISI, 4/04/09, Providence Journal)
Any pundit who picks the Red Sox to finish first in the A.L. East this season –– and there are many –– should give Theo Epstein, et al, extra credit for frugality.
The Red Sox improved their team this offseason despite boasting an Opening Day payroll that should decline $13 million from last year, to approximately $120 million, mostly due to the departure of Manny Ramirez.
Meanwhile, other teams –– beyond just the free-spending Yankees –– have seen their payrolls rise this winter, meaning the Red Sox ranking among the highest payrolls in the league should slip from fourth-highest payroll in 2008 to sixth this season, just ahead of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
The Yankees lead the way at roughly $207 million, with the Mets next at $140 million. The Phillies, Cubs, and Tigers are next up, and then the Red Sox should come in at just under $120 million, equal to their payroll from 2006. [...]
The Yankees have reportedly spent 38 percent of the total dollars expended on free agents over the past two offseasons. The Red Sox spent 3 percent. [...]
[T]he Red Sox now find themselves in the interesting position of having a payroll that seems to fit better in a group with the $85-million Toronto Blue Jays, $65-million Tampa Bay Rays and $75-million Baltimore Orioles than to the $200 million Yankees.
Obviously the Red Sox would have been perfectly happy to have gotten Mark Texieria instead of the Yankees. The real difference comes in the fact that they have a major league ready 1b in the high minors--Chris Carter--and a top prospect--Lars Anderson just a year away. The Yankees have no one.
Even more revealing, the Yankees dumped a ton of money into the oft-injured hole that is AJ Burnett -- only because he broke 12 wins for the first time in his career during a contract year -- while the Sox signed the younger Brad Penny to just a one year deal, which was possible because he was hurt after starting the All-Star game the year before.
Posted by Orrin Judd at April 5, 2009 2:44 PM