As the offseason begins in earnest this week -- with the GM Meetings getting under way Monday, presenting the first opportunity for executives to converse face-to-face -- speculation continues to build over whether the Red Sox will trade Mookie Betts, now just a year away from free agency.
The Red Sox have decided to cut payroll in order to re-reset their CBT (competitive balance tax) rate. With $150 million committed to players on existing multi-year deals, another $50 million or so ticketed for arbitration-eligibles and still more targeted for the players rounding out the roster, there are cuts to be made.
Already, there has been speculation that the return of J.D. Martinez could force the Sox into moving Betts, who will make somewhere around $28 million in his final year of arbitration-eligibility. But what if the Sox began their cost-cutting by moving another outfielder instead?
Granted, the savings accrued by dealing Jackie Bradley Jr. would be smaller, with Bradley estimated to earn $11 million in his final year of arbitration. The expectation is that the Sox will need to slice about $30 million to get under the $208 million threshold. But it would represent a start. And unlike one of their pricey starting pitchers (David Price or Nathan Eovaldi), the Red Sox wouldn't have to pay down any of Bradley's salary.