Boston Red Sox: What Is Happening on Yawkey Way?

William PenfieldCorrespondent IIJanuary 29, 2012

Boston Red Sox owners, Tom Werner and John Herny, at a Liverpool Football Club mathc
Boston Red Sox owners, Tom Werner and John Herny, at a Liverpool Football Club mathcMichael Regan/Getty Images

In an offseason in which a rotten clubhouse was supposed to be fixed, things have only become more confusing at 4 Yawkey Way.

Perhaps the most puzzling move of all was the recent trade of starting shortstop, Marco Scutaro, to the Colorado Rockies in return for a pitcher with an ERA north of nine in triple-A last season.

A midst the offseason after the worst September collapse in baseball history, for some strange reason, the front office thought it would be a good idea to trade its starting shortstop. One of the only reasons the team won as many games as they did in September.

But the fact that they traded Scutaro isn't even the most mind boggling thing—it is why they traded him—to free up money to go after other free agents.

In a market such as Boston, freeing up money should not be an issue. The team sells out every home game and is one of the highest earning franchises in sports.

Yet ownership felt the need to rid of Scuatro's $6 million contract to make room for a few more free agency signings, one being the recently signed outfielder, Cody Ross.

The trade of Scuatro was likely an avoidance of the luxury tax but the Red Sox will likely pay it without him as they still need to sign another starting pitcher.

In 2010, the Red Sox paid $1.49-million in luxury tax, a small amount compared to the teams spending ability. So what is with ownerships reluctance to break the luxury tax threshold this offseason?

Up to this point in the offseason the Red Sox have allotted just $7.85 million to major league contracts and are reluctant to make a one year offer lucrative enough to draw Roy Oswalt to Boston—they reportedly offered Oswalt a one year, $5-million deal. 

Has John Henry and company gone cheap? 

Quite possibly and it could be directly tied to the purchase of the Liverpool Football Club by the New England Sports Venture—headed by Henry—for $426 million in October 2010.

Now you'd be hard pressed to call them cheap after last offseason, one in which they dished out two $100-million deals to Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, but the group could be feeling the financial now, just a year and a half after the purchase.

Fans and supporters of smaller market teams will probably gripe at this but the fact that ownership is weary about handing out a few smaller one year deals to guys like Oswalt because they don't want to pay a small amount of luxury tax is ludicrous.

If this trend continues in the future, which I'm not sure it will. There could be reason for worry in Beantown. But until then, the Red Sox could be looking at another third place and maybe even a fourth place finish in the AL East if they don't dish out the dough for a starting pitcher.