Are the Sox planning a spending spree?

So we’re talking to Theo Epstein Monday afternoon and he mentions that restructuring Tim Wakefield’s deal will save the Sox $1.5 million on the CBT, which is GM-speak for the payroll luxury tax, or collective bargaining tax.

“That’s important because there’s some things we want to do this winter and we don’t have a ton of room under the CBT,” Epstein said.

The tax threshold for 2010 will be $170 million. Are the Red Sox actually planning to approach that?

I mean, zowie. They were around $125 million this season.

Keeping in mind that is an extremely rough estimate, I have the Red Sox committed to approximately $109 million for next season. That’s figuring arbitration raises for Jonathan Papelbon, Jermey Hermida, Hideki Okajima and Ramon Ramirez and $500,000 each for the assorted 0-3 service-time players.

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Let’s say they sign Jason Bay for $18 million. So now they’re at $127 million. Where is that extra $43 million coming from that Theo seemed concerned about?

Are the Red Sox leaving room for Roy Halladay and some other superstar?

This is total conjecture, of course, and perhaps Epstein was just musing out loud. But perhaps that was a clue that the Sox are, if nothing else, giving themselves the option to make a huge splash.

UPDATE, 11:54 a.m.: The CBT is actually the “competitive balance tax” as an astute reader pointed out.

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