I am a Red Sox fan. If you follow me on twitter via @AV_MLBSweetSpot, then I am sure you have been aware of this for awhile now. The reason I have decided to state my team preference at the beginning of this article is because of the delicate topic that I am about to discuss. The current talk around the game is Giancarlo Stanton and his potentially record-breaking homerun pace. He has 44 through Wednesday and is on a pace that could bring him in the range of Roger Maris’s non-steroid record of 61. Stanton is a slugger for sure, and reaching the 60 homerun plateau would be an amazing accomplishment, but fans around the game need to pump the breaks. The level of hype and the “willing to trade anybody for Stanton” talks have become unreasonable, at least in Boston. That being said, I am not here to discuss the merits of Stanton’s recent surge. Instead, I want to talk about another player who, two months ago, was in the position that Stanton is currently in: Aaron Judge.
Last week, SportsNet ran a piece summarizing the teams that exceeded the 2016 MLB Luxury Tax threshold. The list includes six organizations, three from the American League: the Yankees, Red Sox, and Tigers; and three from the National League: the Dodgers, Giants, and Cubs. As is the case with most luxury tax offenders, each of these teams has at least one ill-advised contract on their books, and some teams have multiple. As a result, I thought I would have a little fun and create a 2016 All-Luxury Tax Team; a team of the most expensive players who provided the least value to their ball clubs in 2016. First though, lets give some background on who our big-spenders were this year (as well as some fun nicknames!).
LOS ANGELES DODGERS aka “The Yankees of the West”
- Tax Amount: $31.8 million (4th Consecutive offense)
Aroldis Chapman is now a member of the Chicago Cubs. It had long been speculated that Chapman would be on the move at some point before the trade deadline, as the Yankees currently sit 7.5 games back in the AL East and 4.5 games out from the second wild card spot. With a record of 50-48, the deficit may not seem too large, but the Yankees have question marks all over their lineup and rotation. 39-year-old Carlos Beltran, who like Chapman is in a contract year, has been the team’s best hitter. The rotation has failed to find consistency beyond Masahiro Tanaka.
Over the course of the past two weeks, the Boston Red Sox have been very active in the trade market, first by acquiring Aaron Hill from the Milwaukee Brewers, then by adding Brad Ziegler in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Most recently, Dave Dombrowksi made a bold move to acquire lefty Drew Pomeranz from the San Diego Padres in exchange for highly-regarded pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza. With these additions, the Red Sox have improved all three major areas of need: bench depth, the bullpen, and the rotation.