Let’s just get one thing straight here, if the season is called off altogether, at least the Dodgers don’t have to worry about the Red Sox signing Mookie Betts back. One of the biggest worries is that Los Angeles made a trade for the All-Star and faces a real possibility that he will not play one game for them.
On the upside, if there is not a season then there is no feasible way for the Red Sox to go after Mookie. In the new agreement with baseball, there is no automatic reset on the competitive balance tax. So, if the Red Sox go beyond $210 million with their payroll in 2021, they would be taxed as a team that surpassed the luxury tax for a third consecutive year.
The penalties for exceeding the luxury tax get worse every year. The third year of exceeding the tax is a pivotal year though, as it jumps from a 30 percent tax on all overages to a 50 percent tax. Clubs that go over the $210 million mark by $20 million to $40 million are also subject to a 12 percent surtax in addition.
With that in mind, the Dodgers don’t really have to worry about the Red Sox in regards to a Mookie free agency competition.
Boston, as of now, has almost $100 million in contracts for 2021 committed to just five guys on the roster. The biggest contracts are Chris Sale and Xander Bogaerts. If Mookie Betts gets the contract he deserves, then the Red Sox are likely out of the running automatically. Chris Sale cannot and will not be unloaded after just undergoing reconstructive surgery on his pitching elbow.
That at least eliminates one big-spending team from the Mookie Betts competition, should the season be canceled entirely… I still am of the belief that the season will NOT be called off.