John Henry and Tom Werner are more worried about competing than resetting the luxury tax

Henry and Werner

The Red Sox off-season has been fueled by trade rumors that have yet to come to fruition. The fan-base appears to be divided. Some fans want to compete. Others have totally bought into trading away their MVP as well as some talented World Series champs in exchange for prospects. Regardless of your thoughts, it seemed inevitable at points that the team was going to make some tough decisions to get under the $208M luxury tax. The Red Sox are currently about $20M over the threshold. With the Red Sox making some seemingly odd moves given that strategy, I have been openly discrediting that theory.

If the Red Sox just wanted to rebuild, why pay Martin Perez $6M to put up an ERA over 5.00? Brian Johnson can be just as mediocre for less than a million. Mookie Betts and David Price have been heavily discussed in rumor mills, but no trade has gotten off the ground. Teams like the Rangers and Blue Jays had interest in Price, yet the Red Sox stayed quiet. The Dodgers have been begging for a superstar and have yet to make any ground on a trade involving Betts.

Finally, Dan Shaughnessy was able to get some answers with a peculiar strategy. Shaughnessy had the same doubts and decided to just ask the ownership group via email. Werner responded first saying:

“Our plan has been the same since 2002, namely to be competitive year in and year out. That is the charge for Chaim.’’

– Tom Werner

John Henry also said exactly what I wanted to hear, as he directly addressed the luxury tax. In a much longer response Henry has this to say:

“…this focus on CBT resides with the media far more than it does within the Sox. I think every team probably wants to reset at least once every three years — that’s sort of been the history — but just this week . . . I reminded baseball ops that we are focused on competitiveness over the next 5 years over and above resetting to which they said, ‘That’s exactly how we’ve been approaching it.’

– John Henry

Henry clearly states that he is much more focused on competing than “resetting.” He is referring to the luxury tax, saying he focused on getting under the $208M luxury tax, which would reset the penalty. He talks about how the standard for these large market teams is to reset the penalties every three seasons by going under the threshold for a season. He is not committed to following that script this time around. This is good news for Red Sox fans and the future of the team. Boston die-hards should be able to exhale a little after this information given to us by Dan Shaughnessy. The Yankees are still a wagon, but the Red Sox are not just going to lay down and die.

Here are some articles I’ve written about Mookie Betts regarding his reportedly expiring time in Boston:

Does Mookie Betts’ arbitration settlement help his chances of returning to the Red Sox for 2020?

It looks increasingly likely that Mookie Betts will remain in Boston