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.

McAdam: Red Sox should pass on this Sale

McAdam: Red Sox should pass on this Sale

BOSTON -- I'm not sure what the Red Sox would have to give up for Chicago White Sox starter Chris Sale.

For that matter, I can't say definitively that the two clubs have actually discussed a trade for Chris Sale, though it's logical to assume they have, even in a cursory way.

The White Sox, mired toward the bottom of the A.L. Central and with just one playoff appearance in the last 11 seasons, are said to be "open'' to listening for offers on Sale. That's both their right and their duty.

As for the Red Sox, given that they're a big-market club with plenty of resources and an expectation from a loyal fan base to compete for a championship every season, they're similarly smart to inquire.

Who knows? Maybe the White Sox have had their fill of Sale and ,in a fit of pique, might be desperate enough to take less than full value to rid themselves of a pitcher who's developed into quite the clubhouse lawyer of late.

But my guess is that the White Sox are demanding a lot for Sale. That makes sense, since, beyond his raging sense of entitlement, Sale remains one of the handful of best starters in the game and is under club control for another three seasons after this one.

Whatever the asking price is, however, it's almost certainly too much.

Sure, the addition of Sale might, on paper, make the Red Sox the favorites to win the American League pennant.

Again, on paper. Ask the New York Mets, who owned the best starting rotation in the game when the season began and now sit, uncomfortably, in third place in their own division.

So much for the best-laid plans.

But the focus here is on the cost, however unknown, to obtain Sale.

If obtaining Drew Pomeranz cost the Red Sox Anderson Espinoza, how much more would Sale cost?

Let's assume that the Red Sox consider Yoan Moncada essentially untouchable. That would mean Boston would have to essentially clean out the rest of its prospect inventory. Think: a package like Andrew Benintendi, Rafael Devers and Michael Kopech, and perhaps more.

Or maybe the White Sox want more established young talent, and have their eyes on Mookie Betts and more.

Argue, if you wish, that pitching is more important than offense, but giving up a leadoff man who's shown indications he could become a five-tool superstar? No, thanks.

There's also the matter of need. Unlike at the beginning of the season, the Red Sox can now lay claim to having a rotation in which every one of the five starters gives them a solid chance to win.

Yes, David Price has underperformed in a big way. But that's likely the result of adjusting to Boston and new surroundings. What are the odds that, at 30, Price has almost overnight permanently devolved into a mediocre starter after finishing second in the Cy Young Award voting just last fall?

Steven Wright has emerged as a consistent starter who's under control for the forseeable future. Rick Porcello, though not flashy, is pitching like the Red Sox envisioned he would when they dealt for him a season-and-a-half ago. Eduardo Rodriguez has overcome injury and delivery issues to fufull the promise he showed as a rookie. And Pomeranz could be an afforable middle-of-the-rotation for years to come.

Is Sale better than each one of them right now? Of course, Price included.

But is the Red Sox rotation so troubled that it must upgrade now or else? No. Is their an obvious weak link begging to be immediately replaced? No.

And this is not Chris Sale, free agent. This is Chris Sale, incredibly expensive trade piece.

What if they stripmined their minor-league system for Sale, and didn't win? Then what? What if they tore up their core of foundational players for Sale, only to find him incapable of surviving Boston?

As I confessed earlier, I'm don't know what the White Sox would want for Sale.

What I do know is that it would, by definition, almost certainly be too much.

Quotes, notes and stars: Pomeranz 'made one pitch that hurt' Red Sox

Quotes, notes and stars: Pomeranz 'made one pitch that hurt' Red Sox

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 4-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers:

QUOTES:

"He pitched as we had anticipated at the time of the trade.'' - John Farrell on Drew Pomeranz.

"I had a good curveball and I was locating my fastball a lot better. I was in a lot better counts all night, but I made one pitch that hurt us.'' - Pomeranz on his outing.

"He was able to limit the damage against a very good offensive team. He pitched well enough to win. I just wish we could have put more runs on the board for him.'' - Jackie Bradley Jr. on Pomeranz.

 

NOTES:

* Until Monday night, the Red Sox had won their last six series openers.

* Drew Pomeranz has allowed four or fewer hits in 12 of his 18 starts this season.

* Eleven of Travis Shaw's last 15 hits have been for extra bases.

* Jackie Bradley Jr. had his 25th multi-hit game.

* Sandy Leon is hitting .500 (11-for-22) with runners in scoring position.

* The Red Sox are 21-21 in games decided by two or fewer runs.

* Dustin Pedroia (walk, single) has reached base in 28 straight games.

* Xander Bogaerts has 133 hits through 97 games. Since 1940, only Wade Boggs (134 in 1983; 135 in 1987) and Adrian Gonzalez (135 in 2011) had more.

STARS:

1) Justin Verlander

Verlander has enjoyed a bounce-back season of sorts this year, and the Red Sox got to see it up close Monday night as Verlander limited them a single run over six innings.

2) Jose Iglesias

The former Red Sox shortstop haunted his old team with a two-run homer in the sixth to put the Tigers ahead to stay.

3) Drew Pomeranz

The lefty absorbed the loss, but pitched well enough to win, giving up two runs in six innings while striking out seven.