Yankees, Red Sox only clubs to pay luxury tax

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Yankees, Red Sox only clubs to pay luxury tax

Associated Press
NEW YORK -- The New York Yankeeslowered spending on players by 12 million this year, cutting payrollby 5 million and slashing their major league-leading luxury tax bymore than 7 million.New York was hit with an 18 millionluxury tax Tuesday by Major League Baseball. The tax was New York'slowest since 2003 and down from 25.7 million last year, when theYankees won the World Series."Atta baby. And right now we're in the 170s," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said, looking ahead to his 2011 payroll.
Season-ending payroll information and the tax was sent to teams Tuesday and obtained by The Associated Press.Boston is the only other team thatwill have to pay. The Red Sox, who missed the playoffs this year,exceeded the payroll threshold for the first time since 2007 and owe1.49 million.According to the collectivebargaining agreement, the Yankees and Red Sox must send checks to thecommissioner's office by Jan. 31.Red Sox president Larry Lucchino declined comment.Since the current tax began in 2003,the Yankees have run up a bill of 192.2 million. The only other teamsto pay are Boston (15.34 million), Detroit (1.3 million) and the LosAngeles Angels (927,000).New York's payroll was 215.1 millionfor the purpose of the luxury tax, down from 226.2 million, and theYankees pay at a 40 percent rate for the amount over the threshold,which rose from 162 million to 170 million. Boston's luxury-taxpayroll was 176.6 million, and the Red Sox pay at a 22.5 percent rate."We're doing a better job ofmanaging our payroll and managing our decision-making as we enter thefree-agent market," Cashman said. "Our payroll doesn't necessarily haveto live at that level, but it's nice to know that our owners arecommitted to allow us to get there if we need to."To compute the payroll, Major LeagueBaseball uses the average annual values of contracts for players on40-man rosters and adds benefits. The Yankees failed to land free-agentpitcher Cliff Lee despite being given permission from ownership to makea 150 million, seven-year offer. Lee agreed to a 120 million,five-year deal with Philadelphia."We weren't going to exceed where wewere this past year, but the bottom line is that now that the Lee thinghas declared itself, it would be hard-pressed for us to get up to thatlevel," Cashman said.While the Yankees are stocked withhigh-salaried veterans, Cashman has mixed in young players in recentyears such as Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and Brett Gardner."You need a strong farm system thatprevents you from being desperate in the free-agent market," Cashmansaid. "You don't want to be desperate in the free-agent market, becauseyou'll get slaughtered."New York's payroll under theconventional method of calculation - salaries and prorated shares ofsigning bonuses - dropped from 222.5 million in 2008 to 220 millionlast year to 215.1 million this season.Boston's payroll rose by 30.2million to 170.7 million. The 44.4 million between the Yankees andRed Sox was larger than the payrolls of San Diego (43.7 million) andPittsburgh (44.1 million).After moving into Target Field,Minnesota's payroll also went up by 30 million, leaving the Twins 10thin the majors at 103 million. Cincinnati increased its payroll by 9.8million to 82.5 million.Florida raised its payroll by 9.8million to 47.3 million after an agreement by the Marlins with theplayers' association last January to increase spending. Florida movesinto a new ballpark in 2012.The Los Angeles Dodgers cut payrollby a major league-high 21.8 million to 109.8 million as owners Frankand Jamie McCourt argued in divorce proceedings. Houston dropped by17.9 million to 90.1 million and the New York Mets by 14.7 millionto 127.6 million. Cleveland cut 16.7 million to 60.5 million.The Yankees, Phillies (third at145.5 million), Twins and the World Series champion San FranciscoGiants (11th at 101.4 million) were the only teams from the top halfby payroll to make the playoffs.AL champion Texas was 22nd at 74.3million. Joining the Rangers in the postseason from the bottom half byspending were Atlanta (16th at 89.2 million), Cincinnati (19th) andTampa Bay (20th at 77.5 million).Overall payroll dropped by 2.3 million to 2.912 billion.Payroll figures are for 40-manrosters and include salaries and prorated shares of signing bonuses,earned incentive bonuses, non-cash compensation, buyouts of unexercisedoptions and cash transactions, such as money included in trades. Insome cases, parts of salaries that are deferred are discounted toreflect present-day values.The commissioner's office computedthe average salary at 2,932,162, up 1.7 percent from last year's2,882,336. The players' association, which uses a slightly differentmethod, pegged the average at 3,014,572 last week, up 0.6 percent from2,996,106.

Rick Porcello starts, Drew Pomeranz relieves in Red Sox' 5-3 loss to Twins

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Rick Porcello starts, Drew Pomeranz relieves in Red Sox' 5-3 loss to Twins

Rick Porcello and Drew Pomeranz combined to allow all five of the Red Sox' runs in Boston's 5-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins.

Porcello finished his start by fanning four, allowing four hits and earning two runs over four innings. Pomeranz followed in the next four innings with four strikeouts, five hits allowed and three earned runs. Pomeranz allowed ByungHo Park's eighth-inning, two-run homer, which ended up being the game-winner.

Porcello, however, was optimistic after the loss.

"The buildup was good," Porcello told reporters, via RedSox.com. "Today I felt as good as I've felt all spring. At this point, I'm ready to go. I'm looking forward to the start of the season."

While the Sox offense was able to get three runs off Ervin Santana in his 4 2/3 innings, they struggled against the Twins' next five pitchers. Xander Bogaerts (2 of 3) and Pablo Sandoval (1 of 3) managed homers. Hanley (3 of 3) Ramirez had a double, and Dustin Pedroia (2 of 3) had two singles.

Kyle Kendrick will start Thursday in the Sox' final Spring Training series against the Washington Nationals. First pitch is at 1:05 p.m. ET.

Who's on first for Red Sox? It may be not someone you'd expect

Who's on first for Red Sox? It may be not someone you'd expect

Who’s on first? A middle infielder, maybe.

Hanley Ramirez, Josh Rutledge and Mitch Moreland aren't fully healthy. So the 25th man on the Red Sox has become a matter of corner-infield triage.

Rutledge was gearing up to play some first base with Ramirez restricted to DH because of his throwing shoulder. But Rutledge is hurt now too, likely headed to the disabled list with a left hamstring strain, Sox manager John Farrell said Wednesday morning in Florida.

Here’s the easiest way to think about who takes Rutledge's place: Who would the Red Sox like to see less against left handed pitching, third baseman Pablo Sandoval or first baseman Mitch Moreland? 

If it’s Sandoval, then you carry Marco Hernandez, who can play third base.

“He’s a very strong candidate,” manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida on Wednesday. “He’s one of a few that are being considered strongly right now.” 

If it’s Moreland, than you carry Steve Selsky, who has a history playing first base.

“He’s a guy we’re having discussions on,” Farrell said. “Any guy in our camp that we feel is going to make us a more complete or balanced roster, Deven Marrero, they’re all in consideration.”

The additional wrench here is that Moreland has the flu. If he's not available at all for a few days to begin the season, then the Sox probably have to carry Hernandez.

Why? Because Brock Holt can play some first base if Moreland is out. But then, you’d need another back-up middle infielder, and Hernandez gives you that. 

Hernandez is also hitting .379 in 58 at-bats this spring entering Wednesday.

Moreland isn’t the only one who has the flu.

"It’s running through our clubhouse," Sox manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida on Wednesday, including the Providence Journal’s Tim Britton. "Probably be held out for three days for a quarantine.” (LINK:http://www.providencejournal.com/sports/20170329/with-josh-rutledge-and-mitch-moreland-ailing-first-base-depth-compromised-for-red-sox)

That means the Red Sox won't have Moreland for their exhibitions against the Nationals on Friday and Saturday in Washington D.C. and Annapolis, Md. Moreland could still be ready for the regular season, but would likely be at less than full strength.

Having Ramirez available would sure make things a lot simpler for the Sox.

Both Sandoval at third base and Moreland could use right-handed bats to complement them. Or more specifically, they could use people who can hit left-handed pitching to complement them.

Hernandez is a left-handed hitter who might actually be able to hit lefties. But the Sox haven't used him at first base, and there's no indication they will.

“As we look at the upcoming games, there is the potential for two left-handed starters in Detroit,” Farrell said. “So there’s a number of things being factored right now.”

Early in spring training, Farrell was asked what player had started to catch his eye.

The guy he mentioned was Selsky, an outfielder and first baseman the Red Sox feel fortunate to have picked up off waivers because he still has minor league options remaining.

Now Selsky, who has already technically been cut from major league spring training, has a chance at making the opening day roster. He's 27 and hit .356 in 45 Grapefruit League at-bats.

Chris Young isn't going to have an easy time finding at-bats as it stands now, but the Sox aren't considering moving him to first base.