Red Sox President: It will be ‘difficult’ to keep both Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez

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In case you left the office a tad early on Friday you may have missed the Boston Red Sox’ news dump in which owner John Henry said that the goal for the 2020 Red Sox was to get the payroll below the lowest Competitive Balance Tax threshold, which will be $208 million.

As we wrote on Friday, that’s not going to be impossible given that a lot of money is coming off the ledger as of today (bye-bye Pablo Sandoval‘s contract), but given that the team just finished the 2019 season with a $242 million payroll it’ll certainly be difficult.

There will something else that will be difficult in all of that too: keeping both Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez. Team president and CEO Sam Kennedy:

Martinez has the ability to opt-out of his current contract. If he does not, he’ll make $23.75 million in 2020. If he does he becomes a free agent and he’d almost certainly cost the Red Sox more than $23.75 million to keep him from signing elsewhere. Betts made $20 million this past season. He’ll either get a raise in his final year of arbitration — likely a hefty one — or he’ll negotiate an extension with Boston that’ll have a higher average annual value than $20 million.

Just doing some back of the envelope figuring, if Martinez declines to opt-out and if Betts makes, say, $29 million in 2020, that’d put the payroll commitments at nearly $190 million. And that’s before finding a starting pitcher to replace the departing Rick Porcello and, of course, filling out the rest of the roster. So, no, not impossible, but yes, difficult. They could also try to get Betts to agree to a long term deal that pays him relatively little in 2020 but then goes up over time as other payroll commitments fall off. As the MLBPA will no doubt frown on Betts actually taking a pay cut for 2020, though, it’s not like there is a MASSIVE amount of money to be gained by such a gambit, assuming that Betts is even amenable.

So, yeah, difficult is right.

If, a year ago, you had told Red Sox fans that upon the conclusion of the 2019 season the team (a) would not be in the postseason; and (b) the biggest topic of conversation was which superstars it could afford to keep and which it had to let go in an effort to slash payroll, I suspect they’d laugh their butts off at you.

Guessing they’re not really laughing today. Especially when they see stuff like this:

Gallegos agrees to $11M, 2-year contract with Cardinals

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ST. LOUIS – Reliever Giovanny Gallegos and the St. Louis Cardinals agreed Monday to an $11 million, two-year contract, a deal that includes a club option for 2025 and escalators that could make it worth $20.5 million over three seasons.

The 31-year-old right-hander is 3-5 with a 2.91 ERA and 14 saves in 20 chances this season. He has 72 strikeouts and 15 walks in 58 2/3 innings.

“I feel so happy,” Gallegos said Monday before the Cardinals played the Pirates in Pittsburgh. “I don’t have the word for exactly how I’m feeling.”

He was obtained from the Yankees in July 2018 along with left-hander Chasen Shreve in the trade that sent first baseman Luke Voit to New York. Gallegos is 14-15 with a 3.02 ERA and 34 saves in six major league seasons.

Gallegos gets a $500,000 signing bonus and salaries of $4.5 million next year and $5.5 million in 2024. St. Louis has a $6.5 million team option for 2025 with a $500,000 buyout.

His 2025 option price can increase by up to $3.5 million for games finished in 2024: $500,000 each for 20-25 and 26-30 and 31-35, and $1 million apiece for 36-40 and 41 or more.

He would get $250,000 for winning the Rivera/Hoffman reliever of the year award, $50,000 for All-Star selection and World Series MVP and $25,000 for League Championship Series MVP.

Gallegos has a $2.41 million salary this year.

He was eligible for salary arbitration and is potentially eligible for free agency after the 2024 season.