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The Red Sox announced that they’ve reached agreements on 2016 contracts with the 25 members of the 40-man roster who were not yet arbitration eligible. Perhaps most notable: The team (according to a major league source) agreed to a $650,500 salary for the 2016 season for shortstop Xander Bogaerts, 28 percent above the major league minimum salary of $507,500.

“I’m very thankful to be part of this organization,” said Bogaerts. “I know they treat their guys top class. I’m very thankful for what they did.”

Until a player arrives at arbitration eligibility with three years of big league service time, his salary is largely up to the discretion of the team. That being the case, the Sox’ handling of Bogaerts was particularly notable in light of a controversy that surrounds another emerging star.


Pirates ace Gerrit Cole – like Bogaerts, a Scott Boras client – has two years and 111 days of big league service time, a couple months more than Bogaerts’ two years and 42 days. Cole is coming off an All-Star season that saw him win 19 games, post a 2.90 ERA, and finish fourth in NL Cy Young balloting. Yet when the Pirates re-signed him for $541,000 – the same amount he earned in 2015 between a $531,000 base salary and $10,000 bonus for making the All-Star game – Cole made clear his displeasure to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The Pirates, of course, have different payroll limitations than the Red Sox, resulting in a more restrictive policy for raises for players who aren’t yet arbitration eligible. Nonetheless, that policy can put the team in conflict with the player. The Red Sox, meanwhile, can reward their young players a bit more magnanimously without compromising the rest of the payroll – creating an easier environment for conversations now, and perhaps a more productive environment for future discussions of long-term deals.


That’s no guarantee, of course. The Sox gave Jonathan Papelbon record-setting compensation for a closer with two-plus years of service time after the 2007 season, and the righthander went year-to-year in his salaries before leaving the Sox when he arrived at free agency. Still, there were never contract disagreements between Papelbon and the club. The Sox had the resources to pay an elite young player to the point of his free agency and then move on, a sign of the options that a team possesses when it can afford a $200 million payroll.

There’s been plenty of evidence, of course, that money matters less than ever in fielding a winning team. Even so, it’s worth remembering that big-market teams still possess some freedoms that small-market teams lack and at times envy.

Other notable salaries for members of the Red Sox 40-man roster, which reflect a combination of big league service time and accomplishment:

Brock Holt: $606,000

Mookie Betts: $566,000

Tommy Layne: $563,750

Roenis Elias: $558,000

Jackie Bradley Jr.: $546,500

Brandon Workman: $539,500

Carson Smith: $529,000

Eduardo Rodriguez: $521,000

Blake Swihart: $518,500

Travis Shaw: $515,000

Steven Wright: $514,500

Christian Vazquez: $513,000

Follow Alex Speier on Twitter at @alexspeier.