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Sox Should Be Punished for Their Shenanigans



By Russ Cress ~ April 19th, 2011. Filed under: Digest Contributors, Outside the Apple.

Sometimes, they say, timing is everything. In the case of the Boston Red Sox and their contract extension with first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, you could amend that to sometimes, timing is suspicious.

If you believe the convenient P.R. spin of Theo the Boy Genius and the Nation of Idiots, it was the end of a long arduous negotiation resulting in a nifty little 7 year, $154 Million dollar deal that took months to complete. For those of us who live in the real world, located continently outside of the New England “Nation”, the truth is far more devious and rather bush league at that.

Coming so close to the Mark Teixeira contract, that the Red Sox know the details of all to well based on their failure to secure his autograph on a piece of paper with their letter head at the top, the parameters of this contract were so obvious that it was reported to be a done deal even before the trade itself was finalized. So, if it was simply a mere formality, why did it take so long to complete?

The answer is a simple one, the Beantown Rats in an obvious effort to circumvent the luxury tax, which is intended to redistribute revenue in order to maintain MLB’s competitive balance, the Sawx intentionally delayed announcing the deal in an attempt to avoid paying their fair share to baseball’s small market teams who rely on such payments to maintain a representative squad.

This is not the first time the Red Sox have pulled this stunt and already we know it won’t be their last. Previously, they used such deceitful tactics when announcing the contract extension of Josh Beckett and just days after the Gonzalez signing they just happened to announce the extension of Clay Buchholz. It’s a clear pattern of behavior designed to skirt their responsibility to Major League Baseball’s financial well being and skew the sport’s competitive balance.

In the recent past, several small market teams were justifiably disciplined by Commissioner Bud, for failing to put their share of the funds they received via revenue sharing and luxury tax back into player development. This behavior was seen as not in the best interests of baseball. Now, what is stopping the Marlins and Pirates of the world from crying foul and filing a complaint against the Red Sox for intentionally going out of their way to hamper their ability to contend? After all, how can they put those funds back into the team, if they never receive the Red Sox’ fair share?

This is a clear case of shenanigans on the part of Boy Theo and Boston ownership. By delaying official contract signings until after the date where they effect their luxury tax payments, they are committing fraud and possibly messing with baseball’s competitive balance in order to gain an advantage. Throughout all of this, both the Commissioner and the Players’ Association remain quiet. In Selig’s case, he clearly does not wish to rattle the cage of MLB’s #2 generator of revenue. As for the Players Association, they are not going to speak out against a team who hands out contracts of this level on a regular basis even if it impacts the salaries of those players on the rosters of baseball’s low rent district.
For years we have heard members of the media and fans of the other 29 teams launch unfair attacks on the Yankees as it pertains to spending and baseball’s competitive balance. Yet in all that time, the Yankees have never done anything like what the Red Sox have done here and have always paid their fair share, and more than the rest of baseball combined, to both the revenue sharing and luxury tax funds while at the same time generating more revenue for MLB licensing (which is shared equally by all teams) and MLB’s broadcasting income. So, then why do the Red Sox escape the same criticism?

In my humble opinion, the Red Sox should be disciplined here and in a swift and severe fashion. In fact, if it can be proven that they delayed announcing the contracts in an attempt to avoid paying the 2011 luxury tax as has been reported, then the Commissioner should void both the Gonzalez and Bucholz contracts and both should be barred from signing new deals with Boston during the 2011 & 2012 calendar years. Any attempt to avoid paying their fair share of luxury tax fees should be seen as a ploy by Boston to manipulate baseball’s competitive balance which in a way is rather similar to fixing games, if you think about it.

Until next time, I’m Russ and this is the Cress Corner.

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Russ Cress

Russ has a Masters of Useless Information and is a proud Alumni of the Old School with a major in Trivial Crap. No, seriously, it's actually 2 degrees one in History the other in Broadcasting. He's worked for NBC Sports, worked on Trenton Thunder radio broadcasts, managed a video production company and taught at a major broadcasting school. A massive Yankee fan and student of baseball history, Russ' contributions will largely be in the area of media critiques, DVD & book reviews, retro-reviews of old sporting events with the occasional column on the current baseball scene. As a rotisserie baseball player since the late 1980's, he will also contribute the occasion musing on the world of fantasy baseball. He can be reached at rcressNYY at aol dot com.

20 Responses to Sox Should Be Punished for Their Shenanigans

  1. seank

    1. the burden of proof is on the league to prove the red sox did anything wrong. you can say they did something but in reality YOU have no proof they did anything wrong.

    2. just about every team signs players to extensions around this time of year, the red sox are not the only ones. the rays for instance signed longoria to his extension april 19th 2008. i’m sure if you looked it up you’d see this isn’t something only the red sox do.

    3. the luxury tax doesn’t even work the way you describe it to. it isn’t “intended to redistribute revenue in order to maintain MLB’s competitive balance”. you are confusing luxery tax with revenue sharing. “It’s important to note that money collected through the Luxury Tax is NOT part of revenue-sharing. Most of the money collected through the system actually goes back to the players in the form of benefits. Revenue-sharing dollars are derived from local revenues such as ticket sales, local broadcast deals, concessions, parking, etc. ”

    Money collected under the MLB luxury tax are apportioned as follows: The first $5m is held in reserve, to pay for possible luxury tax refunds. Once it is clear that there are no refunds to be issued, this money is then earmarked for the Industry Growth Fund (IGF). 50% of the remaining money is used to fund player benefits, 25% is used to fund baseball programs in developing countries with no high-school baseball, and 25% is put into the Industry Growth Fund (IGF).

  2. Stu B

    The Red Sox announced a contract EXTENSION, which I believe kicks in next year. As such, it wouldn’t have affected this year’s luxury tax no matter when it was announced.

    It’s a good idea to be sure of the facts before slinging accusations.

  3. Mike Silva

    Stu

    Read this

    http://www.businessinsider.com/adrian-gonzalez-extension-saved-red-sox-46-million-2011-4

    To calculate a player’s impact on the luxury tax, Major League Baseball uses the average annual value of the contract (AAV) including signing bonuses for all years remaining on the player’s contract. With just one year remaining on his old deal, only Gonzalez’ 2011 salary ($6.3M) will be used in calculating this year’s luxury tax. If the Red Sox had not waited to make the extension official, Gonzalez’ AAV would have jumped to $17.8 million even though his 2011 salary remains unchanged.

  4. seank

    http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/majors/season-preview/2010/269597.html on how luxury tax works

  5. Mike Silva

    Sean

    I think the point is the Yankees pay all the time, and now the Sox are trying to circumvent the rules. Bottom line: it’s a loop hole they exploited. Shame on the league for letting this happen. If there were repercussions like Russ mentioned above it probably wouldn’t happen.

    You can’t have these obtuse financial parameters if they are this easy to circumvent. Apparently the Sox have the blueprint how to do it

  6. seank

    and my point is EVERY team does it, not just the red sox, plus what do you care about luxury tax, it doesn’t go to other teams and it’s not your money. http://www.stevetheump.com/luxury_tax.htm for all the luxury tax paid 2003-2010. if a team can “game the system” then fix the system don’t blame the team for taking advantage of a loophole, but that is what you’re saying we agree there

  7. Dalers

    U can’t punish them for playing bu the rules

  8. Davon

    Who cares? I just think your hating.

  9. Mike

    Let me summarize Mr. Silva’s piece.

    WAAAAHHHHHHHHH.

  10. Mike

    Excuse me, Mr. Cress’ piece.

  11. Stu B

    Thanks, Mike. I stand corrected.

  12. Chris Taylor

    Wouldn’t any well-run business try to do the same? Why commit over $150 million to someone sooner than you need to? What if he’d gotten injured in spring training, or somehow didn’t click?

    It seemed like a no-brainer to me. If you can sign someone in mid-April and save a few million dollars rather than sign him a couple of months earlier and have to pay those few million – what would YOU have done?

    Punish them? Should the Yankees be “punished” because they saved several hundred million dollars in the construction of the new Stadium, by having the taxpayers pick up those costs?

  13. Tom

    Disagree entirely. The Red Sox can sign a player to an extension anytime they want to. If this represents a loophole, credit them for finding it. Let MLB close the loophole if they want to.

  14. irv

    You can’t punish a team for exploiting a loophole, they are called loopholes because they are not against the rules. Even if they make up rules against it now, they can’t go back to punish teams that did it previously.

    It’s not even that bad of a loophole anyway. Why should teams be required to announce their decision as soon as they make them? they should have the right to announce it whenever they want.

  15. J

    Like has been said, most of the large market teams (and even some of the small – see Tampa-) do this to help their numbers and not get hit with the Tax.

    You only want the Sox to be made an example of because they challenge the Yanks.

  16. Tim

    Didn’t know Devry has a journalism program.

  17. Sonoma Dave

    Waah, waah, waah. Somebody call a waahmbulance. Cress is whining about the Gonzalez signing as suspicious, but had Cashman and Ol’ Dumbass Hank done the same thing, it would have been totally legit.

  18. Stu Baron

    “Theo the Boy Genius and the Nation of Idiots”

    Real mature…

  19. NYSucks

    LMAO Bitter NY. I love how things have changed. The Sox beat you in 04 and now you write articles like this because you can’t handle the fact other teams have caught up to your way of doing things.

    The Sox did not break any rules. They signed a player.

    NY Yankee fans are now shooting red sox fans and killing the,m (It has happened 3 times since 2004) because they can’t handle losing. I love how retarded NYers are.

  20. BoSox Fan 1950

    To Mr. Russ Cress: Sir, you are the “ID ten T” (ID10T)! And the folks you work for are consummate idiots to not only let you write such drivel but also publishing it (and you and they could invest some short dollars in a proof reader).
    I highly recommend for your consideration (although the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that you have neither the intelligence nor the courage to pursue such recommendations) that you seek other employment if you must work or retire if you can.
    Grow up.

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