Red Sox Owner John Henry: 'Spending More Money Helps' Teams Win

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 19, 2019

John Henry, centre, owner of the Boston Red Sox answers a question during a press conference in London, Tuesday, May 8, 2018, to announce a two game series to be played in London. The Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees will play a MLB two game series at the London Stadium in London, June 29-30th 2019. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Alastair Grant/Associated Press

Count Boston Red Sox owner John Henry among those who believe spending more money aids in building a winning team.

According to ESPN.com's David Schoenfield, Henry suggested as much Monday: "I think the Baltimore payroll was double what the Tampa payroll was last year. Close to double. There is a correlation, I'm sure there is a correlation, but it's not as perfect. It's very difficult to predict things in baseball, to predict player performance. Spending more money helps."

That may seem obvious, but it flew in the face of what MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said previously, as he opined, "I reject the notion that payroll is a good measure for how much a team is trying or how successful that team is going to be."

There has been no shortage of debate regarding the importance of spending, since the top available free agents, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, remain unsigned at the start of spring training.

Spending yielded mixed results in 2018. The Red Sox won the World Series with the top payroll at over $227 million, and the Los Angeles Dodgers won their second consecutive National League pennant with the third-highest payroll at a shade under $200 million.

The Chicago Cubs (fourth), New York Yankees (sixth) and Houston Astros (ninth) all made the playoffs.

Half the teams in the top 10 did not reach the postseason, though, as the San Francisco Giants (second), Washington Nationals (fifth), Los Angeles Angels (seventh), St. Louis Cardinals (eighth) and Seattle Mariners (10th) all fell short.

Meanwhile, the Oakland Athletics reached the playoffs with the league's third-lowest payroll.

Selectivity in free agency played a huge role in the Red Sox's World Series win. Like Harper and Machado this year, slugger J.D. Martinez went unsigned into spring training in 2018. Boston picked him up, and he had a huge year with a .330 batting average, 43 home runs and 130 RBI.

The Red Sox are once again set to enter the season with MLB's highest payroll, while the Cubs, Yankees and Dodgers are the next three in line. All four of those teams are expected to make the playoffs.

Spending may not be the only indicator of team success, but the Red Sox have shown over the past 15 years that allocating big money wisely can go a long way toward building championship-winning clubs.