As one of the few, the proud and the whiny who complain the Red Sox have cheaped out in the past, let me say that if and when they decide not to make any significant acquisitions before the trading deadline, I won’t be calling them cheap.
True enough, they window shopped on the expensive side of town and then pinched their pennies when it came to acquiring Alex Rodriguez so many years ago. And they went a little over 25 miles, but not quite that extra 1.2, during the marathon negotiations with Mark Teixeira.
The Sox can get a little weird with their money. They spread it around like grass seed when it comes to reclamation projects like Bartolo Colon and John Smoltz. They dig a little too deeply for guys like J.D. Drew and Daisuke Matuzaka. And they’re generous to a fault when they pay players like Edgar Renteria and Julio Lugo to play for other teams.
This is a filthy rich franchise, and it just looks ludicrous every time they cry poor. They waste millions of dollars on bad deals. They risk millions of dollars on aging long shots. And then they come up short when attempting to sign certain free agents. The point has always been that the Sox can afford anything they want, yet sometimes they act like millionaires haggling over the cost of a Camry and then, after deciding the price is too high, drive away in their BMW.
It’s like they occasionally forget how loaded they really are. But not this year. This year they jumped in and gave John Lackey an offer he couldn’t refused. They added expensive bench players like Jeremy Hermida and Bill Hall. All in all, a team that won a World Series title in 2004 with a payroll of $128 million and won again in 2007 with a payroll of $143 million has run this year’s payroll all the way up to $170 million dollars.
If they go any higher, they’re subject to a 22.5 percent luxury tax. Some will call them cheap if they stand pat because of that tax. I will not. $170 million is not cheap. That should be enough to win a World Series. It has been every year except last, when the Yankees needed more than $200 million to do it.
This time, if the Red Sox say “enough’s enough,” I’ll understand. And you want to know why? Because enough is enough. Spending’s not Boston’s problem this year. Injuries are.
Once they’re healthy, they’ll still be wealthy, and if they’re also wise, they’ll get to bed early and watch their high-priced talent rise in the standings and roll into the playoffs.
—?Bob Halloran is a sports anchor and author. Follow him on Twitter @BobHalloran63
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