Red Sox team president Larry Lucchino was on MLB Network Radio today with Jim Duquette and was asked about the idea of expanding the payroll to improve the pitching staff.
"We will end up being above the threshold this year. I donít think thereís any question about that. Weíve been above the threshold the last couple of years," Lucchino said.
"Our goal is to field a team with more homegrown players, fewer free agents and to have a more manageable payroll down the road. But if youíre asking about this year, we understand that each year has to be taken on its own and this year our payroll is going to be, Iíd hate to make a guess, but itíll be well over the $178 million dollar threshold."
Under the new collective bargaining agreement, it makes financial sense on several fronts to get under the threshold, which rises to $189 million for 2014.
The first is that it would allow a team to retain some of its revenue sharing money. Being over the cap would exclude them from the pool.
Secondly, If the Sox are not under threshold for 2014, the tax rises to 50 percent on anything over. If they get under it, their slate is wiped clean and that would allow for future excesses taxed at a cheaper rate.
But the main goal would be the return of some revenue sharing money. Earlier this spring, Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said his goal was to be below $189 million in 2014. Lucchino expressed much the same sentiment today.
"Itís important to us to get under the threshold when we can, depending on when the circumstances will allow us to do so," he said. "Our first and fundamental obligation to our fans, the first and fundamental obligation of ownership, is to field a team thatís worthy of the fansí support. I think our track record over the past 10 years demonstrates that we honor that obligation and we will continue to honor that obligation.
"But that doesnít necessarily, by definition, mean that you must be millions and millions of dollars over the tax threshold. There are several teams out there that have worthy teams, that are sources of pride for their community, that are well under the threshold. Ultimately weíd love to field the team we need to field that we need to field with fewer dollars if thatís possible at the major league level. Weíre always going to invest a tremendous amount of money into scouting and player development because thatís the secret."
Beyond that, let's be honest. If you can't field a good team for $189 million, that's the fault of the general manager, not the system,