Well, things just got a little less fun as we look towards the upcoming baseball season. I wanted to talk all year about how the Yankees were overhyped (they still are) and how the Red Sox were an underdog now. Being the team no one is buying into is a lot of fun and I was looking forward to that.
Sadly, it was announced that the Red Sox are not at all an underdog. Despite the feeling around the country that they don’t stack up with some of the behemoths around the league, Boston has the highest payroll of anyone. The Sox ended the Dodgers four-year run as the highest spenders by totaling $223 million. The next closest team is actually another surprise, the San Francisco Giants, at $203 million.
Meanwhile, the rest of the top five looks like this.
Chicago Cubs ($183 million)
Dodgers/Nationals ($180 million)
Angels ($170 million)
The Yankees come in at around $167 million which is their lowest total since 2003. They have not been ranked as low as seventh since 1992 when they were ninth. After that, George Steinbrenner really cranked up the Evil Empire and started spending money all over the place to win. Now, New York is under the luxury tax threshold and seeming rather frugal.
Magic Johnson and the Dodgers also got under the luxury tax after years of seeming like they had endless amounts of money. Both them and the Yankees have shed salary, but also benefitted from having young homegrown talent that has yet to be paid big bucks. Both franchises will see their payrolls skyrocket in the next few years as they make plays for big-name free agents like Bryce Harper and try to retain their current studs.
Regardless, this sucks. All the talk that Red Sox fans have always done about the Yankees “buying championships” has never been less relevant. Boston has the highest amount of money spent on their roster for the first time in at least 28 years and that’s kind of ruined a lot of the fun. Beyond the fact that I can’t sit around and be hypocritical about which team spends too much, this is bad for the Sox.
They’ve got Chris Sale on one of the best contracts in baseball. By all accounts, they got JD Martinez on a discount. Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts and Rafael Devers haven’t been addressed with a pay day yet. Really what it comes down to is the crazy amount of money that guys like Rick Porcello, David Price and Dustin Pedroia command. Boston shouldn’t be looking to spend less, yet it seems like they might be moving forward. Ugh.
Now, I’ll still continue to point out that the Yankees are the media darlings and the Red Sox are being overlooked this year with just as much or more talent. I’ll still try to say they are the underdog. I just won’t have a comeback when someone points out that the Red Sox have turned into the Yankees and are spending a considerable amount more.