Appearing on The Big Show Wednesday afternoon, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said that there was no instruction from ownership to remain under the luxury tax threshold of $178 million.
"There is always a benefit of staying under because if you stay under you're not taxed," Cherington said. "But we have gone over in some previous years, not by much, but we have been over in some previous years. There's no mandate to be under this year, but we'll continue to look at our payroll and context of deals we may or may not make and just do what we feel put us in the best position to win this year and be flexible."
Cherington explained that while there is no instruction to stay under the luxury tax threshold, the team is operating under a self-imposed budget. It was a topic that was broached due to a question regarding the motivation behind training shortstop Marco Scutaro (and thereby relieving the team of $7.67 million against the collective bargaining tax).
"We had every intention of him being on the team. We got to the point in the offseason, it happened to be after [last Thursday's] Writers Dinner, where something was presented to us and we felt there was an opportunity to reallocate that money in a more efficient way for the team," the GM said. "We may not use all of that now, but over time, whether it's now or in spring training or in the season, given the options we have at shortstop, we feel like we can use that money. But there's a difference in saying we have gone over the luxury threshold and that there's no mandate not to do that this year, there's a different between that and saying we don't have a budget. We do have a budget. They are two different things. They aren't unrelated to each other, but they aren't the same thing."
When asked if money was the driving force behind trading Scutaro, Cherington admitted that it played a factor. But the general manager also said that the team was able to execute the move because of the presence of Nick Punto and Mike Aviles at shortstop.
"To some degree because when you have that kind of money opening up, in addition to whatever other resources you have, it allows you to do other things with the team," Cherington said when asked if money played a factor in the deal. "With that move we felt we had a couple of guys in Aviles and Punto who could help us get close to giving us what Marco did, and Marco was a good player here and I expect him to be a good player in Colorado. We felt like we had some options there and we could reallocate that money elsewhere. We did part of that with Cody Ross. As you guys know, we've wanted to add a right-handed bat this offseason. Particularly with Carl's injury we felt like protecting our outfield mix a little better was important. We'll see what happens from here. If there are opportunities to make the team better before we get to spring training then we'll consider those if we find the right value. If not we'll go into spring training or go into the season and know we have a little bit of flexibility and be able to be nimble and make moves as we feel they're appropriate and the ones we felt were the best values.
"Punto has been a very good utility player. He has played more than that at times in his career, but certainly when he has been out there he has done a good job. Aviles has been an everyday player. He came up and was an everyday player for Kansas City and did a really good job and got hurt. While he got hurt and was making his way back they acquired a shortstop in the Greinke deal and he was sort of supplanted to some degree and we picked him up in a trade last summer. We need to get him into spring training and watch him, but he's certainly capable of being an everyday player. We'll keep our eyes out if there is a way to further protect the shortstop position we'll consider that."
For more highlights from the interview, including Cherington's contention that the Sox need to decide whether adding a starter now is more valuable than preserving financial flexibility for in-season moves, visit the Full Count blog. To listen to the interview, visit The Big Show audio on demand page. For more Red Sox news, go to the team page at weei.com/redsox.
Dale, Michael and Jerry dig into the details of this draft for the Patriots with ESPN's Mike Reiss.
Giardi and Price discuss the Tom Brady appeal getting overturned and Roger Goodell's victory tour. The guys can't believe the victory lap and some of his behavior. The more you listen to him, the more frustrating his behavior becomes.
Giardi and Price break down how the teams in the AFC East altered their futures after the NFL Draft weekend.
Jeff Goodman calls Mike and Rob to drop a ton of knowledge on the upcoming NBA Draft and some of the names available. Sorry fans - he doesn't see Kevin Durant or any big-named free agents coming to Boston and thinks they'll end up making the third pick this season. He also says that there is NO WAY he would trade next year's Brooklyn pick because the draft will be very deep. He discusses the chances of trading with Philly for Okafor, why he like Kris Dunn so much and much more.
Brad Stevens makes his first appearance on the Dale and Holley with Thornton show. We discuss the Atlanta series and what went wrong, and where the Celtics go from here.
Ian Thomsen of NBA.com joined Sam Packard and Jared Weiss to discuss the next moves for Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics with the NBA Draft Lottery rapidly approaching. They discussed the crazy ending to Game 2 of Thunder vs Spurs and picked the player they would build their pretend new franchise around.
Danny recaps the Red Sox 7-2 win over the Orioles
Danny Picard recaps the Red Sox 5-3 win over the Blue Jays.
Who is to blame for the Red Sox 10-9 loss to the Blue Jays? Danny points the finger.
DJ and Pete continue to assess the season that was for the Bruins and look toward the future for the franchise and how they can improve.
DJ and Pete are together for the final Sunday Skate of the season. They get into their overall thoughts on the season, the Bruins keeping Claude Julien on as head coach and the end-of-season press conferences last week. They discuss the rebuild process, what the Bruins need and how they can obtain it. Plenty of callers have their own theories and opinions on all of these topics as well.
Butch is joined by two-thirds of the Sunday Skate show in DJ and Pete. The guys discuss the problems with Bruins including leadership and grit, who should stay and who should go and if Claude is to blame.
Mike Mutnansky, Butch Stearns, and Jon Meterparel discuss the absence of Malcolm Butler at last week's OTAs and replay a sound byte of Butler from May 21st on WEEI not wanting to discuss his contract. Is Malcolm Butler headed for a contract dispute, and how valuable is he?
Mike Mutnansky, Jon Meterparel and Butch Stearns discuss the Celtics and their level of interest in Kevin Durant after Oklahoma City's losses in games five and six; also what should the Celtics do with the third pick in the draft coming up in June?
Jon Meterparel handles Kirk Minhane's Headlines segment with sound from Robert Kraft at a Jewish University's commencement speech, Julian Edelman screaming 'Free Brady', and Johnny Depp in trouble with his ex Amanda Heard
With Malcolm Butler, Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins all emerging as stars, it's time for the Patriots to decide who they need to make a priority. Giardi and Bradford give their take on who should be the first to resign.
Giardi and Bradford debate why kids are more into the NBA and will be watching the Golden State vs. OKC game 7 tonight, and why no young fans will watch a neutral baseball game.
Mike Giardi and rob Bradford were in on Memorial Day and Bradford had a problem with how Mut, Meter and Butch took his comments out of context on the morning show. Also, Giardi and Bradford talk about what it would take to get Kevin Durant in Boston.
Laroy Streat keeps setting fire to the airways and talks people singing his Freestyle Fridays to him when they see him on the street! Catch our guy every friday via final drive! He's must listen radio!
We end the week with the best in sound Laroy Streat continues to set fire to the airways with his music.
The guys talk Red Sox pitching and the problems that could arise with Buchholz struggles.
Jerry is joined by Graig Murphy to talk stand up comedy. Until Graig pretty much hijacks the podcast to tell his side of the "Big Show Unfiltered" story.
Ben and Russ preview the Champions League Final between Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid. Who we want to win, who we think will win, and why. We also talk about our wishes for the USMNT.
The Dennis and Callahan malcontent is joined by former WEEI personality Pete Sheppard to talk about his past involvement with the station and his current gig in New Hampshire. You'll be glad to hear Pete hasn't changed one bit.
Mike and Rob discuss how OTAs are not the forum to make decisions on the future of the team and how fans on Twitter can't accept that. They also get into the contract situations for Malcolm Butler and Dont'a Hightower.More from this show
Mike Mutnansky and Jon Meterparel are in for Memorial Day to host for Dennis, Callahan, and Minihane. Butch Stearns shows up claiming he was booked to host. Since Butch won't leave, the trio then recap the Red Sox weekend in Toronto and discuss the squad moving forward, including whether Dave Dombrowski will make trades.More from this show