The Red Sox Are a $4.5 Billion Franchise With a $10 Million Lineup

Somewhat amazingly, Boston is 13-10 thus far in 2024

Wilyer Abreu, Jarren Duran and Rob Refsnyder of the Boston Red Sox.
Wilyer Abreu, Jarren Duran and Rob Refsnyder make a bit more than $3 million combined.
Joe Sargent/Getty

Buoyed by a starting rotation that’s been the best in the majors thus far despite having no true aces, the Boston Red Sox are somehow 13-10 thus far in the 2024 Major League Baseball season while using a roster that generally consists of players who could be in the minors.

Case in point: Cam Booser. (Great name with a Boston accent.)

A 31-year-old lefty who was recalled from Triple-A Worcester prior to the Red Sox sweeping the Pirates in Pittsburgh over the weekend, Booser was out of baseball seven years ago due to a combination of Tommy John surgery, a broken back and a 50-game drug suspension. Working as a carpenter after leaving baseball, Booser eventually found his way back to the mound and into the minors before making his MLB debut over the weekend.

“Yeah, the first part of my career was, by my own doing, pretty bad,” Booser said before pitching the ninth inning in an 8-1 win over Pittsburgh on Friday night. “I made a few mistakes. But I think when I was able to come back and get a better head on my shoulders, things were a lot more clear.”

Booser is certainly a feel-good story, but he’s also a clear example of how the Red Sox have been running their $4.5-billion team as if it were a mom-and-pop franchise for nearly a half-decade. He didn’t take the field for Boston on Sunday, but he certainly would have fit in with the team that did as he makes less than $1 million annually, just like most of the Red Sox who played Sunday against the Pirates.

For the second time in five days, the Red Sox put a team on the field made up of players who make less than $10 million combined annually. For a franchise that has the highest ticket prices in baseball despite finishing in last place in three out of the last four seasons, that’s an embarrassing thing to do once, let alone twice in under a week.

To be fair, the Sox do have a few costly players including DH Masataka Yoshida ($18M annually), infielder Trevor Story ($23.333M) and third baseman Rafael Devers ($29M), but their roster is overwhelmingly stocked with bargain-basement options like Booser who may, or may not, belong in the majors.

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Thus far at least, the Red Sox have been getting more than what they’ve paid for which is a credit to players like Booser who are giving maximum effort and doing their best. One problem for Boston is that Booser’s best probably isn’t going to be good enough throughout a season that lasts until the fall. Another problem for the Sox is that the best of Booser’s minimum-salaried teammates won’t be good enough either over the course of 2024.

“The Red Sox roll out a Triple-A lineup for a major-league game, the latest insult to the paying customers who show up to Fenway Park in jerseys commemorating departed stars from a bygone era named Betts, Bogaerts, and Martinez,” John Tomase of MassLive wrote last week.

As long as the Red Sox can continue to squeeze wins out of their joke of a team, expect the insults to keep coming — and for Boston’s ownership to be chuckling all the way to the bank.

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