Will the Red Sox be hamstrung by the luxury tax at the trade deadline?

July 10, 2010 - Toronto, Ontario, Canada - 10 July 2010: Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz.

According to Senior MLB Writer Ed Price at AOL Fanhouse, the Red Sox could be limited at the trade deadline this year because of the luxury tax.

That tax, which in the Red Sox’ case would be 22.5 percent of every dollar over $170 million in payroll, is based on the so-called “actual club payroll,” not the Opening Day payroll. So the pro-rated salaries of any players acquired in a trade would count toward that figure.

The Associated Press listed Boston’s Opening Day payroll as $162.7 million, although the luxury-tax figure will also include players on the 40-man roster and players’ benefit.

Thus, the Red Sox are about tapped out. The source said the front office would have to “jump through hoops” — make a strong case to ownership — just to add $500,000 in salary over the rest of the season. That’s the equivalent of a player making $1.1 million for the year.

Paying luxury tax this year would make Boston liable to a 30 percent luxury tax on payroll over $178 million in 2011, when Beckett, Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia and Jon Lester are due for raises.

If the Red Sox are having financial issues, nobody tell David Ortiz, who recently said that he wants a multi-year contract extension.

Even though Boston is still very much in the playoff hunt, it’s been an uphill battle for them in 2010. As Price notes in his article, roughly $45 million worth of Red Sox players are on the disabled list, including Josh Beckett ($12 million), Dustin Pedroia ($3.5) million, Victor Martinez ($7 million), Jason Varietk ($5 million), Clay Buchholz ($440,000), Mike Lowell ($12 million) and Jacoby Ellsbury ($500,000).

With their growing list of injuries, the Red Sox probably won’t be able to stay in contention in the second half at their current state. They could stand to add a reliever, an outfielder or perhaps even another starter, but if Price is right and Theo Epstein will be limited at the deadline, then we might be looking at a Boston-less postseason in a couple of months.

If their 7-2 loss to the Rangers on Thursday night was a taste of things to come, then the BoSox are in store for a long second half.

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Yankees’ president calls out Brewers’ owner for being a whiner

Yankees’ president Randy Levine wants Brewers’ owner Mark Attanasio to stop whining about not being able to pay Prince Fielder because his team can’t spend like the Bombers can.

From ESPN.com:

“I’m sorry that my friend Mark continues to whine about his running the Brewers,” Levine told ESPNNewYork.com in a phone interview Tuesday morning. “We play by all the rules and there doesn’t seem to be any complaints when teams such as the Brewers receive hundreds of millions of dollars that they get from us in revenue sharing the last few years. Take some of that money that you get from us and use that to sign your players.

“The question that should be asked is: Where has the hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue sharing gone?”

Levine made his comments in reaction to an Attanasio quote in a USA Today story about the average salaries of this year’s players. Attanasio — as he has done before — made sure to mention the discrepancy in how much the Yankees spend on players in comparison to other teams.

“We’re struggling to sign [Fielder] and the Yankees infield is making more than our team,” Attanasio told the paper.

In the initial seven years of the luxury tax, the Yankees have paid teams nearly $175 million in revenue sharing, according to the BizofBaseball.com. That is 92 percent of the total revenue sharing that has been doled out.

Levine is right – there are owners that should stop whining. People want to complain about how much the Yankees spend, yet nobody holds smaller market teams (I’m not necessarily talking about the Brewers, who spent $55 million this past offseason) accountable for not spending the money they get from the luxury tax on the field. Where is all that money going? Are teams putting it back onto the field?

Let’s say your well-educated, rich sibling is forced to give you $2,000 a year and it’s expected that you’ll use that money to better your own education. But instead of using the $2,000 towards tuition or new books, you spend it on a new PS3 and video games. Granted, it was only expected of you to spend the money on your education – it wasn’t a necessity in order for you to receive the money. But then do you have the right to complain when you’re failing your classes when you didn’t spend the money to further your education? Furthermore, do you have the right to blame your sibling for your failures? Of course not – you blew the loot on other things.

You could have spent the money on your education, but you pocketed it instead. That’s not your sibling’s fault. Granted, they still have an advantage because they make more money then you. But it’s you’re own fault for not spending the $2,000 on your education.

If people want to bitch and moan about the Yankees’ spending – fine. They do have a clear advantage and unfortunately, not even the luxury tax can even the playing field. There should be a cap. But if you’re one of those people that whine about the Yankees, then in the same breath you also better be complaining about those small market teams that pocket the luxury tax and don’t use it for their on-field product.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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