One of the biggest stories in baseball is whether Mookie Betts will be wearing a Red Sox uniform on Opening Day. As the off-season continues to unfold, the Red Sox have not done much besides cause a stir in the rumor department. Fans are still left wondering whether the Red Sox will make a concerted effort to dip under the luxury tax threshold to avoid increasing penalties. The 2020 Luxury Tax Penalty is the most over-hyped story in Red Sox history. There are hoards of fans willing to buy into the reset of the Luxury Tax without any understanding of the penalties.
As it stands now, the Red Sox would owe roughly $10-$15 Million in penalties for 2020. They would also have less international spending money and lose out on revenue sharing rebates that add up to a low seven-figure reward. Fans are coming to John Henry’s defense because he does not want to pay a fine that will add up to roughly one season of Nathan Eovaldi’s contract. Henry’s net worth is $2.8 Billion and people are rooting for him to get rid of the Red Sox’ best homegrown player since Ted Williams in order to avoid a fine of less than $20 Million.
The only real downside of the Red Sox staying over the tax is being handicapped in the international market for free agents. The Red Sox have done a great job of finding players like Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers recently. However, trading Mookie Betts for the purpose of betting on the international market is silly. As long as the Red Sox do not go over $248 Million (next level of penalties) there is nothing to worry about.
Based on the latest information, the only serious suiter for Mookie Betts is the Los Angeles Dodgers. Bob Nightengale reported that the Red Sox love the 24-year-old catcher Will Smith, but the Dodgers’ willingness to trade Smith is unknown. The fit would make sense, but the trade of Betts is unlikely. Alex Speier gave some more insight to the situation. He believes that if Nightengale is accurate, the ball has just started rolling on a trade, and both writers agree that the Red Sox would be much more likely to trade someone like David Price. On December 22nd, Nightengale said that the Dodgers are aggressive in the pursuit of Francisco Lindor and Mike Clevinger, both with Cleveland.