For the first time since 2009, the Red Sox payroll fell below the luxury tax threshold. According to The Associated Press, the team's payroll as calculated for luxury tax purposes (factoring in average annual value of salaries of players on the 40-man roster, adjustments for cash in trades, benefits and bonuses) fell $47,177 under the $178 million luxury tax threshold in 2012, with the team's franchise altering trade of Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto having removed just enough salary to push the team under the luxury tax threshold.
The Sox had paid $3.5 million in luxury tax in 2011 and $1.4 million in 2010. The team had anticipated a payroll of about $190 million in 2012, which would have resulted in a luxury tax payment of approximately $5 million. However, the Dodgers trade removed over $13 million from the team's books, enough to knock the team below the threshold. (The approximately $327,000 that the Dodgers paid Punto proved a difference-maker.)
Because the Sox were under the threshold, the next time that they exceed the luxury tax threshold (which is once again $178 million in 2013 and $189 million in 2014), their tax rate will be 17.5 percent. The team would have owed 40 percent on any payroll in excess of $178 million in 2012.
The Yankees, meanwhile, owe an $18.9 million luxury tax bill, the 10th straight year they've paid the luxury tax. New York was the only team to pay the competitive balance tax.
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