When it comes to the MLB, Red Sox fans don't count regular season wins or number of times in the playoffs. Red Sox fans count championships. This ownership group has given Sox fans four World Series championships to celebrate since 2004. The Yankees have won one in the same period, the Dodgers have won zero. The Red Sox owners win when they've gone through the process of ramping up before resetting the tax, the others haven't. It's that simple. The Red Sox owners are better than the rest.
Is it better words we're looking for? Do we expect complete transparency? Yes, the Red Sox ownership has seemed of two minds at times. It doesn't look good when we hear from Andrew Friedman that he was trying to get Mookie Betts at the 2019 trading deadline, but then the Red Sox took three of four from the Yankees so Dave Dombrowski didn't sell. It doesn't look good when Dave Dombrowski is fired and/or quits and there isn't a press conference immediately to talk about it. We'd rather not hear them talk any more about the Mookie Betts trade. But would we rather get to the World Series and lose like the Dodgers, not get there at all in over 10 years like the Yankees but give better press conferences, get there and win and have calls for the World Series to be vacated like the Astros? The Red Sox are avoiding paying a player like Zack Wheeler $47 Million per year by not paying Mookie Betts right now. Because that's what the punitive luxury tax penalty does, paying a 95% tax on top of any signing when a team is in the top tier.
When the Yankees went under the luxury tax in the 2018 offseason, this is what Brian Cashman said:
"I was under a mandated goal to reset the luxury tax and get under so we’re not lining the pockets of our opponents at our expense,” Cashman said. “Is it a definite line in the sand now? I wouldn’t say that. I’d say it’s a preference. But unlike the last three or four years, we’re now back in the clear as far as those penalties are concerned and in control of our own destinyCashman to the media via Forbes in November of 2018
Give Cashman credit for his candor, but things are about to get real for the Yankees. With the Gerrit Cole signing the Bombers are now the top payroll at $257.8 Million. Their three year window starts now. The Red Sox had a three year window starting in 2017 and cashed in. Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres will cost more and more each year. If the Yankees do not win now they will fail, yet again, to live up to the Red Sox in the 21st century.
How about the Dodgers? Here's Andrew Friedman deflecting when asked about the Dodgers and the luxury tax:
“It’s not something that we’ve really gotten into at this point,” he said. “More than that, there’s no question that we have plenty of resources to win a World Series next year. There’s no question about that. The talent on hand, and the flexibility to do that, is definitely there.”Friedman to the media via The LA Times in November of 2018
That kind of deflection is more familiar to Boston fans. It's very interesting to note that the Dodgers payroll is currently $14 Million into the luxury tax after all the failed and redone deals last week. That quote is from a story detailing the Dodgers' plan to stay under the tax for the next four years. Look for the Dodgers to continue to attempt to move Joc Pederson ($7.75 Million), Corey Seager ($7.6 Million) and Ross Stripling ($2.1 Million) before the end of the season, if not before opening day. That's not winning baseball, that's pinching pennies.
It's easy to pile on the Red Sox right now. We've done it ourselves. But we would not trade this Red Sox ownership for any other group in baseball. These guys have put their money down and won, won, won and won again.
Featured Image via USA Today