Register now to remove this ad

Page 1 of 45 12311 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 663

Thread: Why was Mookie traded, exactly?

  1. #1
    Deity Bellhorn04's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Halifax
    Posts
    28,321

    Why was Mookie traded, exactly?

    Here is a piece from The Ringer that was written about a week after the trade.

    The Myths Behind Boston’s Mookie Betts Trade Justification
    The Red Sox are ostensibly aiming toward payroll flexibility by trading their best player to the Dodgers. Here’s why that explanation falls flat.
    By Zach Kram Feb 13, 2020

    When a baseball team trades its best player, it had better have a good reason. When that player is not only talented but a recent MVP, not only beloved but a homegrown hero, not only productive but, in fact, the most productive young player ever to be traded in MLB history, that reason had better be unimpeachable.

    The Red Sox have tried to explain themselves both before and after trading Mookie Betts, a 27-year-old super-duper-star, and the Red Sox have failed. After some delays and tweaks due to uncertain medical info, the momentous trade was finalized earlier this week: Betts, pitcher David Price (a fine player in his own right), and half of Price’s salary to the Dodgers in exchange for young outfielder Alex Verdugo and two prospects.

    The Dodgers added the second-best player in baseball, behind only crosstown outfielder Mike Trout. The Red Sox added payroll flexibility.

    But that imbalance hasn’t prevented a week of attempted justification for Boston’s decision, or even outright praise. “Boston did really well,” one executive told ESPN’s Buster Olney. “The Red Sox will reset fast,” said another, adding, “they’ll have money to spend in the next offseason.”

    Many of these optimistic interpretations of Boston’s side of the trade are centered more in myth than reality. So as spring training begins and Betts prepares for the first non–Red Sox camp of his career, let’s tackle some of those myths and expose the rotten underbelly of Boston’s trade.

    Myth No. 1: The Red Sox Weren’t Going to Compete in 2020 Anyway
    (Let's skip this one.)

    Myth No. 2: Trading Betts Will Save the Red Sox Money for Years to Come

    Most analyses in Boston’s favor concern the financial aspect of the deal more than the on-field effect. These are misguided as well. Baseball’s Byzantine accounting system facilitates this sort of justification because this area is such a challenge for fans and media members to understand.

    So let’s examine Boston’s actual savings from the Betts trade. Most of the focus concerns the competitive balance tax, or CBT, a surcharge on top of a team’s payroll commitments if they rise above a set of escalating thresholds. (The luxury tax applies only to the overages, though—none of the hundreds of millions of dollars under the lowest CBT threshold are subject to extra taxation.) Crucially, if a team remains above the thresholds for more than one season, the taxes grow more onerous. Here’s what they look like for the 2020 season.

    Competitive Balance Tax Penalties
    Pre-tax Payroll First-Time Offender Second-Time Offender Third-Time Offender or More
    Pre-tax Payroll First-Time Offender Second-Time Offender Third-Time Offender or More
    Under $208 million 0% 0% 0%
    $208-$228 million 20% 30% 50%
    $228-$248 million 32% 42% 62%
    $248 million or more 62.5-65% 72.5-75% 92.5-95%

    If a team dips back under the lowest threshold even once, it resets the penalties to reenter the “first-time offender” column. Looking at the percentages, it’s easy to see why a reset is desirable. The Yankees and Dodgers did so recently, meaning their taxes this season—with Gerrit Cole’s and Betts’s contracts, respectively, pushing them into the penalty area—won’t be as high. Red Sox owner John Henry told the Boston Globe in January, “I think every team probably wants to reset at least once every three years.”

    But that’s the key number: three years. Teams reach the highest level of CBT penalties if they go over the tax for three consecutive years, so if the Red Sox plan to reinvest the money they’re saving this season, they would vault back over the tax line in 2021 and return to the highest tax level in just three seasons. Thus, speculation that the Red Sox might save money for a decade or more from this one season of stinginess doesn’t pass muster.

    Moreover, the collective bargaining agreement between players and owners—which details the CBT and attendant penalties—will expire after the 2021 season. Given the increasingly fraught economic state of the game, it’s possible that the entire nature of the CBT structure will change after 2021—meaning, in effect, that the duration of Boston’s savings could shrink from an already small three years to only two.

    Myth No. 3: Boston Will Reinvest the Money They Save Into the Team
    (Let's skip this one too.)

    Myth No. 4: Henry and the Red Sox Will Save Substantial Amounts of Money by Dipping Under the Luxury Tax

    Thus we arrive at the greatest myth of all.

    In 2020, of course, they’ll save a lot of money, but mostly because they shed all of Betts’s $27 million and half of Price’s $32 million for the year. Subtract Verdugo’s pre-arb contract and that’s about $42 million in salary savings this year, plus about $11 million in projected luxury tax payments that will no longer arise.
    The savings from resetting the luxury tax and becoming first-time rather than third-time offenders dry up quickly beyond 2020 unless the Red Sox plan to run truly exorbitant payrolls. No team under the current CBT structure has ever gone so high as to make the difference between those two rate levels really matter. When the Red Sox won the 2018 title with the sport’s highest payroll, for instance, they paid only $12 million in CBT payments—a small tradeoff for a World Series trophy, in a year in which Boston collected an estimated $516 million in revenue.

    This chart shows how much Henry would save, on average across 2021 and 2022, at different levels of spending in those seasons. (For ease of analysis, for the latter season this projection assumes that the CBT system will continue as presently constructed in the new collective bargaining agreement.) If the Red Sox stay below the lowest CBT threshold, they wouldn’t save anything. If they go above, the savings would be minimal at the lower levels.

    Red Sox Projected CBT Savings, 2021-22
    Pre-tax Payroll (Millions) Average Annual Savings (Millions)
    Pre-tax Payroll (Millions) Average Annual Savings (Millions)
    $200 $0
    $210 $0
    $220 $2.3
    $230 $4.8
    $240 $7.3
    $250 $9.8
    $260 $12.3
    $270 $14.8
    $280 $17.3
    $290 $19.8
    $300 $22.3

    Even with a pre-tax payroll of $250 million, which would represent the highest payroll in franchise history, Henry would save only around $10 million per year from diminished luxury tax payments. (Some other, harder-to-calculate factors might play a small additional role, like Boston’s collection of a complicated tax revenue rebate, which FanGraphs’ Craig Edwards estimates could work out to an extra $3.75 million per year. But the gist of the chart remains the same in any case.)

    If they want to contend this year or in 2021 or 2022, they’ll need to immediately eat into some of those savings to replenish the rotation, or risk falling even further behind in the standings. This prospect is made more difficult by the Betts trade, because by paying $16 million per year to the Dodgers to cover half of Price’s salary, they limit the effective payroll they can spend on the actual Red Sox roster—unless they’re planning to pay more on payroll than they would have had they kept Price, which doesn’t make sense because then their tax burden would increase.

    Going the cheaper route doesn’t make much sense either, though—this is the Red Sox, one of the sport’s premier and richest franchises, and they should always be in contention.

    Except they need a pitcher now to get there, and Price, ironically, would help fill that hole.

    And the savings from trading him and Betts, again, aren’t even that large in the first place, relative to a typical Boston payroll. For context for that chart, when the Red Sox won the championship in 2018, they paid Hanley Ramírez and Pablo Sandoval a combined $40.8 million despite cutting them in May and during the previous season, respectively, and that extra cost didn’t get in their way. Even if the Red Sox run an unprecedented $300 million payroll the next two seasons, Henry would ultimately save just half the amount of money that he gave Ramírez and Sandoval to not play in 2018.

    A splurge to $300 million likely will not occur, though. The club’s actions this winter all point toward future frugality rather than exorbitance—even beyond trading its best player, Boston also barely dipped a toe into the free agent pool. And in general, no team is approaching payrolls of the sort that would actually threaten Henry’s pocket book.

    Aside from extending current young players like Devers—which might only reinforce the disappointment around Betts, whom Boston failed to extend—it’s hard to envision how Boston will reinvest all of its 2020 savings given next winter’s possible targets. Many of the top potential free agents have already signed extensions that will keep them off the market: Mike Trout, Jacob deGrom, Paul Goldschmidt. George Springer could prove enticing, or a breakout pitcher from the Marcus Stroman–Robbie Ray–Trevor Bauer group. But none of those players will be worth the kind of colossal contract that could incur luxury tax shockwaves.

    Only one impending free agent, in fact, could command such a deal. That player, of course, is Mookie Betts. And it’s clear that Boston doesn’t want to pay him what he’s worth.
    Championships since purchase by John Henry group: Red Sox 4 Yankees 1

    Theme song of 2020 Red Sox: "Tanks for the Memories"

  2. #2
    Deity Bellhorn04's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Halifax
    Posts
    28,321
    In my opinion, there was only one valid reason for letting him go. They didn't want to pay him $350-400 million. I can live with that, because the risk of such a contract would have been astronomical.

    But the stuff about saving tax and creating flexibility doesn't cut it as legitimate reasons, for me.
    Championships since purchase by John Henry group: Red Sox 4 Yankees 1

    Theme song of 2020 Red Sox: "Tanks for the Memories"

  3. #3
    Soon after the duck boats were put away following the 2018 parade , John Henry started talking about how he was getting tired of losing money on the team . To me , that was the first indication that the big spending was going to be re-thought somewhat . I don't know if Mookie was determined to go elsewhere anyway , but I think Henry just did not want to spend that much to try and keep him in Boston. ( By the way , I never bought into the idea that we could trade him to L.A. and then re-sign him )
    Last edited by dgalehouse; 09-03-2020 at 05:16 PM.

  4. #4
    Does anyone on the board think keeping Mookie and Price would have helped us to make the playoffs this year? I think not. So we get the reset without dumping other high salary players, go into 2021 with an opportunity to make important additions to the club and to undo some of the damage that DD wreaked on us and we lowered the risk level associated with big long term contracts.

    Seems to me to be a reasonable trade and there was doubt Mookie would take the Boston offer in any case. Word on the street is we offered $300 Mil over 10 years, not exactly chump change. To my way of thinking, Bloom made the best move under the circumstances.[/SIZE][/B]

  5. #5
    Deity Kimmi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    24,008
    Quote Originally Posted by Bellhorn04 View Post
    In my opinion, there was only one valid reason for letting him go. They didn't want to pay him $350-400 million. I can live with that, because the risk of such a contract would have been astronomical.

    But the stuff about saving tax and creating flexibility doesn't cut it as legitimate reasons, for me.
    I agree that the Sox didn't want to pay him that much money, and rightly so. And that by itself would be plenty sufficient. However, I disagree that it is as cut and dry as that. I think under different circumstances, Henry might have been willing to open his wallet for Mookie. Maybe not, but I think it's possible.

    As I said in the other thread, it sounds like you're saying that the Red Sox should not consider anything else in their decision, just whether they want to pay that amount or not. They can't operate in a vacuum like that.

  6. #6
    Deity Kimmi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    24,008
    Quote Originally Posted by dgalehouse View Post
    Soon after the duck boats were put away following the 2018 parade , John Henry started talking about how he was getting tired of losing money on the team . To me , that was the first indication that the big spending was going to be re-thought somewhat . I don't know if Mookie was determined to go elsewhere anyway , but I think Henry just did not want to spend that much to try and keep him in Boston. ( By the way , I never bought into the idea that we could trade him to L.A. and then re-sign him )
    John Henry will continue spending money on this team. He will continue to be right around the luxury tax limit every year, and try to reset the penalty every few years if he goes over. He's not afraid to spend money, he just knows it's not wise to tie up that much in one player.

    I also never bought the idea that we'd be able to re-sign Mookie after trading him.

  7. #7
    Deity Kimmi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    24,008
    Quote Originally Posted by oldtimer View Post
    Does anyone on the board think keeping Mookie and Price would have helped us to make the playoffs this year? I think not. So we get the reset without dumping other high salary players, go into 2021 with an opportunity to make important additions to the club and to undo some of the damage that DD wreaked on us and we lowered the risk level associated with big long term contracts.

    Seems to me to be a reasonable trade and there was doubt Mookie would take the Boston offer in any case. Word on the street is we offered $300 Mil over 10 years, not exactly chump change. To my way of thinking, Bloom made the best move under the circumstances.
    I was happy with the trade when it happened. The events occurring since have made the trade that much better.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by oldtimer View Post
    Does anyone on the board think keeping Mookie and Price would have helped us to make the playoffs this year? I think not. So we get the reset without dumping other high salary players, go into 2021 with an opportunity to make important additions to the club and to undo some of the damage that DD wreaked on us and we lowered the risk level associated with big long term contracts.

    Seems to me to be a reasonable trade and there was doubt Mookie would take the Boston offer in any case. Word on the street is we offered $300 Mil over 10 years, not exactly chump change. To my way of thinking, Bloom made the best move under the circumstances.[/SIZE][/B]
    Mookie is a winning player who always gives his all and expects the same out of teammates -- as he made clear his first day as a Dodger in a speech to his new club. Anyone who's ever played team sports knows that athletes up their game when they're challenged by the presence of great players. I'm not saying the 2020 Red Sox would've made the playoffs or even had a winning record with Betts, but you can bet there would have been a different atmosphere if he were still here...

  9. #9
    TalkSox Godhead mvp 78's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    38,664
    Quote Originally Posted by Bellhorn04 View Post
    In my opinion, there was only one valid reason for letting him go. They didn't want to pay him $350-400 million. I can live with that, because the risk of such a contract would have been astronomical.

    But the stuff about saving tax and creating flexibility doesn't cut it as legitimate reasons, for me.
    I thought he would have been lucky to get 300 tho?!?!? Shouldn’t his mom have told him to extend with Sox?!?!?
    Quote Originally Posted by Kimmi View Post
    <<< Most normal poster on Talksox

  10. #10
    Deity Bellhorn04's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Halifax
    Posts
    28,321
    Quote Originally Posted by Kimmi View Post
    As I said in the other thread, it sounds like you're saying that the Red Sox should not consider anything else in their decision, just whether they want to pay that amount or not. They can't operate in a vacuum like that.
    I'm not disputing that point at all. I know there's a lot to consider. But in this particular case, I believe the short-term considerations were far outweighed by the long-term ones.

    And as I said on the other thread, we have a ton of payroll coming off the books in 2021 and 2022.
    Championships since purchase by John Henry group: Red Sox 4 Yankees 1

    Theme song of 2020 Red Sox: "Tanks for the Memories"

  11. #11
    Deity Bellhorn04's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Halifax
    Posts
    28,321
    Major contracts on books for 2022-2023

    2022
    Sale 25.6
    JDM 22
    Bogey 20
    Eovaldi 17
    Total 84.6

    2023
    Sale 25.6
    Bogey 20 (if he doesn't opt out)
    Total 45.6

    That's it.
    Championships since purchase by John Henry group: Red Sox 4 Yankees 1

    Theme song of 2020 Red Sox: "Tanks for the Memories"

  12. #12
    Deity Bellhorn04's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Halifax
    Posts
    28,321
    Here's what Werner said after Mookie signed the extension with the Dodgers:

    “It’s always difficult to trade a talented player of Mookie’s caliber, but let’s revisit this conversation in 12 years. Hopefully you and I will both still be here. That’s a very, very long-term deal for a team to swallow. You guys know as well as I do that the history of long-term deals is checkered at best. We made what we thought was a generous offer but for us it’s time to turn the page.”
    Championships since purchase by John Henry group: Red Sox 4 Yankees 1

    Theme song of 2020 Red Sox: "Tanks for the Memories"

  13. #13
    Deity Kimmi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    24,008
    Quote Originally Posted by mvp 78 View Post
    I thought he would have been lucky to get 300 tho?!?!? Shouldn’t his mom have told him to extend with Sox?!?!?
    Stop.

  14. #14
    Deity Kimmi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    24,008
    Quote Originally Posted by Bellhorn04 View Post
    Here's what Werner said after Mookie signed the extension with the Dodgers:

    “It’s always difficult to trade a talented player of Mookie’s caliber, but let’s revisit this conversation in 12 years. Hopefully you and I will both still be here. That’s a very, very long-term deal for a team to swallow. You guys know as well as I do that the history of long-term deals is checkered at best. We made what we thought was a generous offer but for us it’s time to turn the page.”
    I'm not sure exactly what you're trying to say when you say that the only valid reason for not signing Mookie is that the Sox did not want to pay him that much. I don't think any team wants to pay a player that much, but some do after weighing all the pros and cons. It's just not a cut and dry situation.

    For a small market team, I can see an owner saying that he will not pay a player $350 million under any circumstances. Period.

    For teams like the Red Sox, Yankees, and Dodgers, who are willing to spend a lot of money, it's not so simple. It's not a matter of either yes, we want to pay him that much or no, we don't want to pay him that much.

    And the long term effect of such a contract is most certainly a valid consideration, no matter how much money the Sox have coming off the books in the next year or two. That's the type of contract that reduces payroll flexibility significantly for 12 years, not just the next few years.

  15. #15
    TalkSox Godhead mvp 78's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    38,664
    Quote Originally Posted by Kimmi View Post
    Stop.
    Never.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kimmi View Post
    <<< Most normal poster on Talksox

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •