Cubs, Red Sox, Yankees exceeded competitive balance tax threshold in 2019

Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald
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Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Cubs, Red Sox, and Yankees exceeded the competitive balance tax (more colloquially known as the luxury tax) threshold for the 2019 season, set at $206 million. It will rise to $208 million for the 2020 season and $210 million in 2021.

Teams that exceed the CBT threshold pay a penalty on the overage, which is compounded depending on how consistently they have exceeded the threshold. The base penalty is 20 percent. If a team has exceeded it in a second consecutive year, the penalty rises to 30 percent. Three or more consecutive seasons yields a 50 percent tax on the overage. Furthermore, teams that exceed the CBT threshold by $20-40 million see an additional 12 percent tax. Above $40 million brings a 42.5 percent penalty which rises to 45 percent if the team exceeds the CBT by more than $40 million in a consecutive year.

The luxury tax has acted as a de facto salary cap. Front offices typically have gone out of their way not to exceed it, especially in recent years. The Cubs, Red Sox, and Yankees are each widely believed to be looking to stay below $208 million in 2020.

In pursuit of payroll efficiency, the Cubs are believed to be willing to listen to offers for catcher Willson Contreras, third baseman Kris Bryant, outfielders Kyle Scharber, Albert Almora, and Ian Happ, as well as pitcher José Quintana. The Red Sox are believed to be pursuing trades of outfielder Mookie Betts and/or J.D. Martinez. Outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is also believed to be available.

As we have been discussing the ongoing labor tension in baseball lately, one wonders if the CBT threshold might also be changed within the next collective bargaining agreement. It has served ownership well, giving them something to point at as a reason not to invest as much into putting together a competitive and entertaining product for fans.

Stanton, Donaldson, Kahnle activated by Yankees ahead of Dodgers series

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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LOS ANGELES — Giancarlo Stanton, Josh Donaldson, and Tommy Kahnle were activated by the New York Yankees ahead of their weekend series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

New York cleared three roster spots after a 1-0 loss at Seattle, optioning infielder-outfielders Oswaldo Cabrera and Franchy Cordero to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre along with left-hander Matt Krook.

Stanton, Donaldson and Kahnle all played in a rehab game for Double-A Somerset. Stanton was hitless in three at-bats in his first appearance since injuring his left hamstring on April 15.

Donaldson went 1 for 4 in his fourth rehab game as he comes back from a strained right hamstring originally sustained on April 5.

Kahnle pitched one inning, giving up one run and one hit and walking two. He has been out since spring training with right biceps tendinitis.

Aaron Boone said he wasn’t concerned about Stanton returning after playing in just one rehab game. He did say that Stanton likely will be a designated hitter for a couple of weeks after rejoining the Yankees.

New York is missing centerfielder Harrison Bader, who strained his right hamstring against the Mariners and went on the injured list the next day.

Left-hander Carlos Rodón, sidelined since spring training by a sore left forearm and an ailing back, was transferred to the 60-day injured list.