Cherington: Money spent on roster 'has to make sense'

Cherington: Money spent on roster 'has to make sense'
December 9, 2013, 9:30 pm
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The New York Yankees spent the last year insisting that the team intended to have a 2014 payroll under the $189 luxury tax threshold. Then, last week they went on a spending spree that would seem to make that goal impossible.
The Red Sox, meanwhile, have been somewhat quieter about their own intentions. The Sox have a policy of never publicly addressing their budget, feeling that such discussions rob them of a competitive advantage over other teams.
But general manager Ben Cherington did talk about the luxury tax threshold in general terms Monday.
Teams that spend under $189 million qualify for some revenue sharing rebates and also get to re-set the luxury tax rate for their team in 2015 and going forward.
"This is obviously something we talk about with ownership every year," said Cherington. "We're looking at any acquisition and the cost of that acquisition, whether's it a free agent or trade, as an investment and (ask) what are we getting back. There's always a price that makes sense for anyone.
"So if there's a really compelling reason to do something and we can demonstrate that (in terms) of the cost, then there's usually an open ear for that type of thing. But it's our job to make sure it's compelling and make sure what we're investing in makes sense and that we're not doing stuff just to do it."
The Sox have 15 players under contract for a total of $149.6 million; another $8 million targeted for arbitration cases of five players and another $2.6 million for five players under their control.
Add in $3.9 million the Sox have to pay the Dodgers as part of their August 2012 trade and another $10 million for insurance, and the Sox find themselves at about $174 million -- or $15 million under the $189 million luxury tax threshold.
"Obviously," said Cherington, "there's a point at which you start paying a tax on every dollar you spend, so it's harder to make that a good investment. It's not impossible, but it's harder. It just goes into the equation of whether we can present a compelling case.
"There's never been a hard line. We're lucky to be in this position. It's always been more about what makes sense from an investment standpoint and how do we get the most talent on the team for a price that makes sense."