Boston Red Sox payroll crunch hitting home

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 16: Steve Cishek #41 of the Chicago Cubs delivers the ball against the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field on September 16, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 16: Steve Cishek #41 of the Chicago Cubs delivers the ball against the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field on September 16, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /
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The Boston Red Sox payroll crunch is starting to make its presence felt, as they have been unable to match even inexpensive free agent offers.

The Boston Red Sox financial capabilities have been a hot topic throughout the offseason. Ownership is looking to cut payroll to get below the luxury tax, leaving the front office in a difficult situation as they look to build upon a team with obvious holes on the roster. They have managed to sign four free agents, but the most notable of that quartet may be Martin Perez. In fact, they were unable to match the Blue Jays’ $4 million offer for Travis Shaw due to their payroll concerns.

Those payroll issues may be ready to bite the Red Sox again. Reliever Steve Cishek, a native of Falmouth, Mass, wants to sign with Boston. The problem is that he may well be far outside their budget.

2019 was another typically solid season for the sidearmer. He posted a 2.95 ERA and a 1.203 WHiP over his 64 innings, striking out 57 batters while issuing 29 walks. While Cishek has dominated right handed hitters over his career, holding them to a .553 OPS, he has been solid against lefties as well. Left handed hitters have managed a mere .694 OPS against Cishek, which should make him relatively immune to difficulties arising from the three batters faced rules.

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Cishek also has a good amount of closing experience, something that the Red Sox sorely need. He has saved 132 games in his career, serving as the primary closer for the Marlins and the Mariners. As the Red Sox had issues in the ninth following the departure of Craig Kimbrel, adding a reliever with closing experience should be atop their wish list.

The Red Sox have other issues as well. The Red Sox need to clear payroll in order to make these signings. As such, the likes of David Price, Nathan Eovaldi, and even Mookie Betts have been in ever present trade rumors. However, nothing appears to be imminent.

This leads to a problem for the Red Sox. Yes, they want to get below the luxury tax threshold. But they also want to improve a team that failed to reach the postseason last year. Cishek, while he would be a perfect fit, is also one of the best relievers in a weak free agent class. As much as he wants to remain in Boston, he will not be waiting forever.

Next. Red Sox asking too much for Price. dark

Steve Cishek wants to pitch for the Boston Red Sox, and there are openings in their bullpen. However, unless he takes a major pay cut, that may not be able to happen.