After winning the 2018 World Series, the Boston Red Sox will be paying a luxury tax penalty of $11,951,091, according to a report by the Associated Press. With the 2018 threshold for teams being $197 million, Boston’s total payroll on the year was $239.5 million, including roster bonuses, as well as deferred and released player contracts.

On top of the monetary penalty dropped on the Red Sox, due to also exceeding the higher $237 million threshold, the team will also have their best draft pick in next year’s amateur draft dropped ten selections from No. 33 to No. 43. The draft pick lowering rule is in its first year of existence, making Boston the inaugural team to face the new penalty.

Advertisement

Red Sox continue to overspend

This is the ninth time in 16 years Boston has faced some level of luxury tax penalties, and the third time in the last four years. This is also the third time Boston has exceeded the luxury tax payroll in a year they won the World Series, paying $3.1 million in 2004 and just over $6 million in 2007.

The only other team to face a penalty in 2018 was the Washington Nationals, who had a total payroll of $205 million and paid $3.8 million in penalties. Boston fans should not be concerned with the luxury tax penalty, especially in a season, such as 2018, that ended in the team’s fourth World Series this century.

Boston used to buying titles

After not facing any penalties in 2017, the largest factor for Boston’s payroll increase was the signing of J.D. Martinez. His five-year, $110 million contract, on top of a $700,000 bonus he received for his league-leading 130 RBIs, hurt the checkbook of Red Sox ownership. An MVP candidate and possible winner, had it not been for teammate Mookie Betts, Martinez was one of the most productive members of the team in 2018, and far and away the best newcomer.

Midseason acquisitions Nathan Eovaldi, Steve Pearce, and Ian Kinsler also factored into the Red Sox hitting the draft-based penalty, combining for around $4 million in adjusted salary after being traded.

Advertisement

The postseason play of Eovaldi and Pearce was invaluable for Boston, as evidenced by Dave Dombrowski rewarding them both with contracts this offseason to remain with the team in 2019, while Kinsler's less than stellar performance allowed him to sign with the San Diego Padres without any competition from Boston.

To put the $12 million-penalty into perspective, that is around what shortstop Xander Bogaerts is projected to make in 2019, following salary arbitration. That figure is also more than what Rusney Castillo made in 2018 while spending his entire season in the minor leagues.

Pablo Sandoval, who was released by the Red Sox in 2017, made $23 million in 2018 to not play for the team.

The lowering of their draft pick is likely to be the biggest hurt Boston will feel from these penalties, as there is the possibility that a potential player they wanted to select might not be available by the time they are on the clock from their new draft position. Dombrowksi has stated, that while the team’s $226 million payroll commitments in 2019 have already put them over the first two thresholds, that will not prevent him from making another move or two where he sees potential room for improvement with the team.

Advertisement