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Red Sox, Nationals are only two teams to pay luxury tax this year

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The Associated Press is reporting that the Boston Red Sox and the Washington Nationals will be the only teams to pay the luxury tax this offseason. For the first time since the advent of the luxury tax in 2003, the New York Yankees will not be paying the tax.

Baseball teams pay a 17.5 percent luxury tax for going over the designated threshold. If those teams stay over for a second, third, and fourth consecutive year, those penalties rise to 30, 40, and 50 percent, respectively. Those thresholds for 2018-21 are $197 million, $206 million, $208 million, and $210 million, respectively.

August 31st payroll levels are what trigger the tax. Boston’s luxury tax payroll as of that date was $238.4 million. It is projected that they will pay $11.3 million in luxury tax as a result. The Nationals’ payroll is $203.9 million, forcing them to pay a projected tax of $2.1 million. The Yankees are just under the threshold at $192.1 million. The Giants and Dodgers are even closer to that threshold than the Yankees. San Francisco’s August 31 payroll is at $195.3 million, L.A’s is at $194.5 million.

By getting under the $197 million mark, the Yankees reset their luxury tax rate going forward, so if they exceed it next year, their tax rate will be down at that 17.5% rate instead of the 50% rate they’d be paying if they remained above it in 2018. That means they’re more likely to be a player for free agents this offseason than if they hadn’t tightened their belts a bit down from 50% for being multi-year offenders of MLB’s soft salary cap.

Nick Senzel to miss a few weeks due to ankle injury

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Reds prospect Nick Senzel will miss at least the next few weeks due to a sprained right ankle, Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Senzel suffered the injury in a minor league game on Monday, sliding into second base.

Last week, the Reds reassigned Senzel to minor league camp. His agent, Joel Wolfe, called it an “egregious case of service time manipulation.” The matter has been cleanly resolved with the injury, not unlike Vladimir Guerrero, Jr.

Senzel, 23, is the Reds’ No. 1 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He was getting work in center field this spring after playing second and third base last year (and even a game at shortstop) in the minors. With Triple-A Louisville, Senzel hit .310/.378/.509 with six home runs and 25 RBI in 193 plate appearances.