Red Sox

Hot Stove Lunch: Might the Red Sox forget about slashing payroll to improve image?

The Red Sox, we know, are ever-mindful of optics.

They care how they're perceived, even if they're often clumsy about how they go about polishing up their image.

And right now, they're reeling - fingered in baseball's ugly sign-stealing scandal, and for the time being, without a manager.

Add in that they're coming off a disappointing third-place finish and have done very little to improve themselves this winter and, well, there haven't been any long wait times at the ticket windows lately.

The Sox went into the offseason determined to trim payroll under $208 million, but haven't made real progress toward that goal. They haven't added much in the way of salary, but they haven 't subtracted either. David Price is still here. So are Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. and Nathan Eovaldi and others who might have been sacrificed at the CBT altar.