Heading into an offseason where change could be significant, these five players may not be back with the Boston Red Sox in 2020.
As a World Series title last year dissolved into a season that hovers around .500 (83-77 entering Saturday), Boston Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski was fired. Manager Alex Cora is in no such danger of losing his job, according to owner John Henry, but changes could still be coming.
Boston has the highest payroll in baseball this year, at just over $229 million. Being over the luxury tax/competitive balance threshold can be justified when it pays off with a World Series title, but heading into 2020 it automatically seems less palatable.
The competitive balance threshold for next year is $208 million. As Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald noted, the Red Sox are projected to have $238 million in payroll for luxury tax purposes when accounting for arbitration raises and contract extensions that will kick in.
Here’s what Henry said about the Red Sox 2020 payroll.
This year we need to be under the CBT and that was something we’ve known for more than a year now. If you don’t reset there are penalties so we’ve known for some time now we needed to reset as other clubs have done.
Chairman Tom Werner walked back Henry’s comments a bit, as could be expected, citing going over the luxury tax threshold as being dependent on circumstances.
One way or another, the Red Sox seem sure to look different in some key spots come Opening Day next year.
On that note these five players, with varying degrees of likelihood based on situation, may well be gone in 2020.
5. SP Rick Porcello
This one’s pretty easy, as Porcello is going to be a free agent. But he has also pitched poorly, with a 5.52 ERA over 32 starts this season pending a possible (unlikely) appearance over the final two games. Since June 1 (21 starts), while allowing three runs or less in each of his last three starts as a noteworthy mention, he still has a 6.16 ERA.
Over the last three seasons, since a somewhat controversial Cy Young-winning season in 2016, Porcello has pitched to a 4.79 ERA. He never was a $20-plus million per year pitcher based on talent, and Boston has paid that price for a below-average starter.
Frankly, the Red Sox should be glad to see Porcello leave.