Blog Entry

Lots of holes in cost-conscious Red Sox

Posted on: February 9, 2012 12:04 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2012 2:05 pm
Bobby Valentine was thrilled to get the job as Red Sox manager. But did he know he might be going to spring training without a starting shortstop and only three set-in-stone starting pitchers?

Young, bright Ben Cherington had to be excited to ascend to the Red Sox GM job. But did anyone tell him he'd have to operate like a small-market club?

With little more than a week to go before things start getting under way in the spring camp of the historic team, their starting shortstop is Nick Punto. If it isn't Mike Aviles. And their rotation is one big puzzle. At least 40 percent of it is.

Red Sox management has found a novel way to change the story from the chicken-and-beer parties to something else. Of course, the Valentine hiring helps, because there is no better manager at getting his team positive and interesting publicity. But how to cover the fact that they have major questions in three key spots and their owner has apparently decided to spend his resources on soccer instead?

The hiring of Valentine was a brilliant stroke, even if it did take a nudge from team president Larry Lucchino and upper management. And the wise trades for Andrew Bailey and Mark Melancon satisfy the question of how they'll replace Jonathan Papelbon in the bullpen. But now, what are they going to do for a starting shortstop and two starting pitchers? (They have made an offer to Roy Oswalt, but it appears he will sign elsewhere.)

It's obvious poor Cherington was given pennies to try to compete with the Yankees and Rays, perhaps the two best teams in baseball, following the departure of his legendary mentor Theo Epstein. Epstein got $18.5 million from the Cubs and Papelbon got $50 million from the Phillies. But the biggest free agent signing Red Sox owner John Henry authorized was that of Valentine, whose contract isn't known. But we'll assume over his two years, he beat Cody Ross' $3 million (though that's on a one-year deal) and the eminently scrappy Punto's $3 million (two years). The other free agents, Vicente Padilla and Kelly Shoppach, were even less money.

Cherington showed some ingenuity in landing both Bailey and Melancon for the pen, reinforcements that will be sorely needed with a rotation that appears highly questionable. Beyond Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz, who incidentally is returning from a back injury, the Red Sox will hope reliever-turned-starter Daniel Bard can fill one of the remaining rotation spots and that someone from Padilla, Carlos Silva and a host of similar possibilities can be the No. 5 man. Cherington was also made to save money to allow him to make even the cheapie moves he did execute, leading him to trade starting shortstop Marco Scutaro at a $6 million savings.

Boston's total outlay of cash was less than $10 million (not counting Valentine). Henry hasn't explained the sudden frugality. But here's one guess: He overspent on soccer.

Henry's outlay of loot for his Liverpool soccer team was $179 million this year, or about 20 times what he spent on the Red Sox. Forward Andy Carroll got 35 million pounds ($54.7 million), forward Luis Suarez got 23 million pounds ($35.9 million), midfielder Stewart Downing 20 million pounds ($31.2 million), midfielder Jordan Henderson 16 million pounds ($25 million), midfielder Charlie Adam 7.5 million pounds ($11.7 million), defenseman Sebastian Coates seven million pounds ($10.9 million) and defenseman Jose Enrique got 6.3 million pounds ($9.8 million).

That's all great for Liverpoool.

Now, can any of them pitch or play shortstop?


Since: Feb 9, 2012
Posted on: February 9, 2012 4:54 pm

Lots of holes in cost-conscious Red Sox

Balance your story mate, liverpool sold a small matter of Fernando Torres to Chelsea for £50 millllion ($77 million) and others as well.

don't create something you have no idea.

Since: Oct 22, 2007
Posted on: February 9, 2012 4:50 pm

Lots of holes in cost-conscious Red Sox

As someone who has spent time with Mr Henry (and speaking as one of the 11 people he follows on Twitter)

There's a resume builder. Tongue out

Since: Nov 20, 2011
Posted on: February 9, 2012 4:48 pm

Lots of holes in cost-conscious Red Sox

Aviles should do a decent job at SS.  He has more power and speed then Scutero and hit over .300 after being traded to Boston.  This could very well be an upgrade.  They have also upgraded in the OF by replacing Drew (terrible year) with Ross.  It will be interesting see how these players do in Fenway and the Red Sox lineup. 

Since: Oct 5, 2009
Posted on: February 9, 2012 4:26 pm

Lots of holes in cost-conscious Red Sox

How does operating a franchise with close to a $200 million payroll constitute operating like a small market club?  The Sox, like the Yankees, are trying to get under the luxury tax threshold before it becomes really painful to exceed it.  And now we're supposed to be sorry for them for that?  Please.  It's their own fault.  At least the Yanks still had a top prospects to trade so they could fill a hole in their roster; too bad the Sox traded all of theirs last year.  They should have planned better.  Suck it up and shut up.  Or pay the luxury tax and shut up.

And before I'm accused of being a Sox hater and Yankee lover, let it be known that I live in the Midwest, absolutely loathe the Yankees, and am agnostic on the Sox.

Since: Nov 30, 2007
Posted on: February 9, 2012 4:23 pm

Lots of holes in cost-conscious Red Sox

Where did all these instant baseball/soccer fans come from who just signed up today?

Since: Mar 27, 2008
Posted on: February 9, 2012 4:13 pm

Lots of holes in cost-conscious Red Sox

any real baseball fan knew that tito and theo were awful.

Since: Mar 9, 2007
Posted on: February 9, 2012 4:09 pm

Lots of holes in cost-conscious Red Sox

How sweet it is. After years of hearing from Sux fans about how the Yankees were built to fail and doomed to fall apart under shoddy leadership and coaching.......your 2012 Boston Red SUX. No back end of the rotation. No shortstop. A crap bullpen. David Ortiz is getting up there and the infield just can't stay healthy. To top it off they have JD Drew Part II with Carl Crawford in LF.

If any more cogs start to fall off the machine in Boston, they are gonna be looking at a 4th place finish this season.

Since: Feb 9, 2012
Posted on: February 9, 2012 4:01 pm

Lots of holes in cost-conscious Red Sox

As others have noted, this is missing the point entirely. It completely misunderstands how football (soccer) works outside the US. If you're going to quote FSG's spending on Liverpool FC, then you really need to at least grasp the concept of transfers. As someone who has spent time with Mr Henry (and speaking as one of the 11 people he follows on Twitter), I can talk with at least a little authority on how he is working in England. Without the facts, this becomes a needless scare story.

As other commentators on this piece have noted, the values quoted in the piece involve money exchanged between the clubs - these are not salary payments, but transfer purchases; we've spent a lot of time learning how American sports operate, but it seems you haven't looked into how things work in our sports. FSG have also received back about 70% of the quoted outlay by selling other players, including Fernando Torres, who moved to Chelsea for £50m.

I think people need to get away from this idea that FSG are going to concentrate on one club (or franchise) to the detriment of others. From what I can tell, the aim of FSG is to tap into the global appeal of Liverpool FC, in a way that was previously neglected by former owners, in order to make the club – which has millions of fans worldwide – more profitable. The Financial Fair Play Rules coming into effect in European football means that owners cannot invest their own money in teams anymore - clubs have to generate their own, through ticket sales, merchandising, TV deals, etc. So even if they wanted to, FSG could not take money raised by the Red Sox and pump it into LFC – any money LFC spends has to be money it raises through its own sporting means.

In selling some high earners, FSG have also lowered LFC's wage bill. They have changed the club's shirt sponsor (from Carlsberg to Standard Chartered), which brings in a lot more money, and more recently, changed from Adidas to Warrior as kit manufacturer – for a record-breaking deal – which also allows the club to cash in on marketing in a way that Adidas denied. By making Liverpool a more profitable club, cash will be there to invest in transfer purchases and increasing the wage bill. 

So Red Sox fans need not worry about Liverpool FC 'stealing' its money, or vice versa.

Paul Tomkins

Sportswriter on Liverpool FC

Since: Feb 9, 2012
Posted on: February 9, 2012 2:25 pm

Lots of holes in cost-conscious Red Sox

As a Red Sox and Man Utd fan it bothers me that JWH bot Liverpool for a few reasons. However this article is not accurate on a few points. The Liverpool players mentioned did not "get" all of the money themselves. Their former clubs received this money as a transfer fee for "selling" their player. Players negotiate their wage contracts seperately. Also, to offset their transfer outlays Liverpool sold Fernando Torres for 50 million pounds. Not every dollar spent on Liverpool is a dollar not spent on the Sox. It is not a zero sum game. Each club has its own revenue stream. (We haven't even mentioned the racing team). I would prefer all of Mr. Henry's attention and wealth were directed towards the Sox but this article, much like Liverpool's strikers this year, is off the mark.

Since: Feb 9, 2012
Posted on: February 9, 2012 2:22 pm

Lots of holes in cost-conscious Red Sox

This is a very complete list of transfer fees paid by Liverpool in the last year. Unfortunately, Mr. Heyman fails to account for players sold by Liverpool during the same period. My research assistant, Mr. Google, tells me that Liverpool's net spending was about £37.25million. (I'm too lazy to do the dollar coversion). Also, it is kind of disingenuous to suggest that Red Sox ownership isn't spending enough on players when, once again this year, the team will be flirting with the luxury tax. Mr. Heyman, I would like to introduce you to Mr. Google. He would be happy to help you with future fact-finding.

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