According to Dombrowski, parting with Buchholz “made the most sense” because he was the only starter among Pomeranz, Rodriguez and Wright who isn’t under club control beyond 2017. He also would have cost the Red Sox $13.5 million against the luxury tax, roughly as much as offseason additions Sale, reliever Tyler Thornburg and first baseman Mitch Moreland combined.

Festus Ezeli Kids Jersey “It’s a situation where it creates some flexibility for us as we go forward, staying below the CBT with areas we may want to address as the season progresses,” Dombrowski said. “Who even knows, maybe even as the wintertime progresses?”

Ah-ha! So, by moving Buchholz, the Red Sox could potentially swoop into the market? Say, for free-agent slugger Edwin Encarnacion, whose options are dwindling and who would answer the Big Papi-sized question of how the Red Sox plan to replace the production left behind by retired designated hitter David Ortiz.
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It’s a fitting coincidence that the previous mark was set by a team whose roster was basically completed about 20 years earlier. On Dec. 12, 1996, the Florida Marlins signed free-agent outfielder Moises Alou to a five-year, $25 million contract, the final major piece of a team built largely through a wild, two-year spending spree.

When they celebrated their own championship 10 months later, Florida would face accusations of having “bought a World Series,” but they also set a model that many teams would follow over the ensuing years, sometimes to great success — as with the Cubs — and often to great failure. Either way, the era of the store-bought championship bid was at hand.

Encarnacion might be worth $20 million in 2017 and 2018, but would you rather pay him $20 million in 2019, when he’ll be 36, or have that money free for a younger, better star? Today’s front offices try to balance the present without mortgaging the future.