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A look at the updated Red Sox payroll (and correcting the record on John Lackey’s deal)

01.26.12 at 11:57 am ET
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The trade of Marco Scutaro unexpectedly freed up more payroll for luxury tax purposes than expected, as the shortstop’s $6 million salary in 2012 would have represented a $7.67 million payroll hit for luxury tax purposes. (More on that here.) Yet in another way, the Sox have slightly less flexibility than anticipated.

It had been assumed that John Lackey had given the team a couple million dollars in additional payroll flexibility with the news that Tommy John surgery that will cost him all of the 2012 season. That is because his absence for the season in turn gives the team an option on his services at the major league minimum for the 2015 season, thus seemingly turning his contract from a five-year, $82.5 million ($16.5 million AAV) contract to a six-year, $83 million contract ($13.83 million AAV).

However, that conclusion was based on a premature push of the fast-forward button. Lackey’s contract remains a five-year, $82.5 million deal. There was a conditional club option for the 2015 season that, if he missed an entire year with a preexisting elbow condition, he would pitch in 2015 for the major league minimum. That is now a club option (rather than a conditional one), rather than a guaranteed season. As such, it does not alter how Lackey’s contract impacts the team’s payroll in 2012. He still represents $16.5 million in salary against the luxury tax threshold in 2012.

That now out of the way, here’s a look at the Red Sox‘ current payroll commitments, in a year when the Red Sox appear to be budgeting for somewhere in the vicinity of $185 million to $190 million (a number that will exceed the luxury tax threshold of $178 million):

Read More: john lackey, luxury tax, red sox payroll,
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