It’s tough to know exactly what the Boston Red Sox are playing at, and what sort of discipline this team will face for the signal-stealing that led them to part ways with Alex Cora. We do see a lot of smoke around Mookie Betts and to some varying degree, the desire to be under the Competitive Balance Tax for 2020 ($208 million). It’s worth noting that the 2021 season will have a $210 million limit.
What’s the penalty for going over? It’s a big tax penalty, especially as a repeat offender. John Henry and the Fenway Sports Group can certainly afford the tax, but they probably aren’t as keen to lose their second and fifth-round draft picks (in addition to whatever draft pick loss they may sustain from the league) and $1 million withdrawn from their international bonus pool for the 2021 season (more on this later).
There’s a well-established precedent of leaking when any team employee is on their way out of Fenway, and no doubt you’ve read that the Red Sox are $100 million and two years apart on their efforts to sign Mookie Betts to a long term contract. It’s not often you see a league MVP move on from their team.
The trend is to tie up your talent before they hit free agency, but Mr Betts has claimed to want to explore the market, and for the purpose of this writing, we’re taking him at his word. The Dodgers and Padres are both allegedly negotiating and this writer is of the opinion that Mr Betts will not be wearing a Red Sox uniform on opening day for the 2020 season.
I do not control the purse strings for the Red Sox but I would like to see them keep the 2018 AL MVP. I’ve suggested a $32 million annual contract on a 5-year basis, neither party has responded.
Also of note, there are rumours that MLB would like to start an International Draft. It’s not going to happen for the 2020 season, but could it happen by 2021 or 2022? We cannot say for certain, but a review of the current Red Sox roster reveals that Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, and Tzu-Wei Lin were all international signings.
The Red Sox current bonus pool money is $5,389,200, and all teams are hard-capped. Pour one out for the old cross-town rival Braves, as they forfeited their bonus pool money due to some dirty dealings.
Once the international signing period opens on 2 July 2020, a team may trade for an additional 60% of their bonus pool allocation. MLB is certainly attempting to expand their international market, as they once again return to London in June with the Cardinals and Cubs facing off.
We’ll take a deeper look at the likely Betts trade, the Red Sox managerial candidates, and check in on the rest of the AL East in the coming weeks. Thanks for reading.
Photos by Ronald Martinez, Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Ben King is a guest writer for Bat Flips and Nerds. Follow him on Twitter @yeoldbigben
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