It’s Official — Red Sox Will End Over the Luxury Tax Line for No Good Reason


Tomase: Sox Will End Over the Luxury Tax Threshold for No Good Reason, Originally Appeared on NBC Sports Boston

I hope James Paxton was worth it.

The Red Sox have crossed the luxury tax line with just $4.5 million this season, meaning they owe a small bill, but more importantly, commit themselves to getting a lower compensation if they become a free agent this winter. Xander Bogaerts lose.

The UK Time News recently published its annual list of MLB payrolls, and the Red Sox finished fifth at $234.5 million. They were one of six teams to cross the $230 million threshold, and the only one not currently in the playoff position.

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Squeezing over the tax limit to finish in last place is the worst of both worlds. Not only did the Red Sox receive zero returns on their investment, they have cost themselves this winter and possibly beyond as fines are stacked over the tax for each successive year.

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By shedding any number of players on the UKTN, they could have fallen below that number and avoided paying fines, but instead of jettisoning the pending free agents Nathan Eovaldi or JD Martinez, they kept both. stuck in an attempt to make an unlikely run on the postseason. Eovaldi has only made two starts since August 2, while Martinez has only hit .238.

Another move that ultimately cost them was giving Paxton $6 million to rehabilitate Tommy John in hopes of making enough progress for the team to pick up his $26 million two-year option. Instead, Paxton left his first rehab start with a lat strain after facing just two batters, making his return next year highly risky and likely unlikely.

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By crossing the threshold for the first time since 2019, the Red Sox face a series of penalties. They will be taxed 20 percent on their overage, which amounts to approximately $900,000. If they lose a free agent who declined a qualifying offer – this may only apply to Bogaerts – they will be given a fourth round pick instead of a second round. If they sign such a free agent, they lose their second and fifth picks in the draft. They will also lose $1 million in international bonus money.

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The penalties will be even greater if the Red Sox cross the $233 million threshold next year. In that case, they owe at least 30 percent on every extra dollar they spend.

Passing makes their approach to the trade UKTN all the more baffling. After trading starting catcher Christian Vazquez to the Astros, they seemed well on their way to getting off the payroll, not incurring any fines, and going into this important winter build-up with a clean slate.

Instead, they held on to everyone else, unnoticed. They will almost certainly finish under .500 and finish in last place, making that $900,000 check extra painful for John Henry to write.


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