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Monday, February 27, 2017

The Boston Red Sox's 2017 Payroll Has Lots of Dead Money

The Boston Red Sox are one of the most successful franchises in Major League Baseball. Their consistent winning ways, playing in a big market and having a broad fan base all translate to them annually having one of the highest payrolls in the sport. As long as the team is winning the particulars of where the money is going never seems to matter as much. However, some of the players Boston will be cutting checks to in 2017, and the amounts, may come as a surprise.

Currently, the Red Sox are expected to pay out over $192 million in player salaries in 2017. This does not include some contract renewals, possible adjustments as the season wears on from trades, and additional free agent signings. That being said, a shocking amount of money will be spent on players who are not expected to have any impact on the team, or in some cases, are no longer still playing the game at all.

Rusney Castillo- $11.27 Million: The Cuban outfielder signed a massive $72.5 million contract in 2014 but has managed to hit just a combined .262 with seven home runs in 99 big league games since then. Now 29, the Red Sox’s level of confidence (or lack thereof) in him was made abundantly clear last year when he was removed from their 40-man roster. Although he is still with the franchise he is expected to be no more than Triple-A depth and has already made negative headlines by recently neglecting to run out a ground ball. By comparison, he is making only about $500,000 less than newly acquired ace pitcher Chris Sale.

Allen Craig- $11 Million: Formerly an All Star with the St. Louis Cardinals, the outfielder has been an unmitigated disaster since coming over to Boston in a 2014 trade. His results have been so putrid that he has managed just a .139 batting average, two home runs and five RBIs in 65 combined games. He never even saw the majors in 2016; instead scuffling in Triple-A in between injuries, mustering a .189 average in 29 games. His contract set to expire at the end of the year and it would be a major surprise if he sees any playing time in Boston this season.

Manny Ramirez- $1.99 Million: The mercurial slugger hasn’t had a major league at bat since 2011, and hasn’t donned a Boston uniform since 2008. However, he will receive a handsome sum from the team in 2017. Ramirez hit .312 with 274 home runs during an eight year contract in the Hub but saw his tenure spotted with occasional indifferent play and controversy. Signed for a total of $160 million by Boston, not all of the money was paid during the life of the deal, as $32 million was deferred over 16 years worth of payments starting in 2011. Last seen signing on with an independent Japanese team for 2017, Ramirez will be making slightly more with the Red Sox than Boston’s super sub Brock Holt this year.

Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford- $1.7 Million ($857,000 each): Ramirez is not the only former player that Boston is on the books for a princely sum in 2017. Ballyhooed free agent signings in 2011, Gonzalez and Crawford fell out of favor and were jettisoned via trade by mid-season the following year to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The move sent more than $250 million in future salaries across the country but did not completely end the team’s ties to the two players. The Red Sox assumed a small portion of the remaining money that is owed, which are still being paid to this day. Gonzalez is still the starting first baseman for the Dodgers but Crawford recently called it a career. Nevertheless, they persist in a small way as part of the Red Sox a half a decade later.

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