Red Sox president: Keeping Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez 'difficult,' but there is a way

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Boston Red Sox president Sam Kennedy said Monday there is a way for the team to keep stars Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez and stay below Major League Baseball's competitive balance tax, but it will be tough.

"There is a way, but obviously it will be difficult given the nature of the agreements and the contracts we have in place," Kennedy said Monday at Fenway nike nfl jerseys wholesale

On Friday, owners John Henry and Tom Werner met with reporters and said they were prepared to cut payroll to get under the luxury-tax threshold next season. Boston has had baseball's highest payroll for two consecutive seasons, exceeding the competitive balance threshold of $208 million in both. If the Red Sox exceed the threshold for a third straight season, their taxes would go up astronomically.

"We need to be under the CBT," said Henry, the team's controlling owner.

Kennedy backed off that some on Monday, saying that is merely a "guidepost."3

"We will continue to demonstrate a willingness to go over the CBT,'' Kennedy said. "It is going to be a challenging offseason, but we are going to attack it.''

Betts, a homegrown talent, has one year left on his rookie deal and declined any overtures from the Red Sox to sign an extension before the season. The outfielder is likely headed to arbitration in the offseason. The Red Sox and Betts -- who turns 27 next week -- agreed to a one-year, $20 million deal before this season to avoid arbitration, the largest amount given to a second-time arbitration-eligible player.

"We absolutely love Mookie Betts as a player, as a person," Kennedy said. "We've gotten to know his family. You hope that he's a guy that is here for the long term."cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Kennedy said he took no offense at the idea that Betts might like to test the free-agent market.

"I think it speaks to Mookie's confidence and how special of a player he is," Kennedy said. "He really does love it here. He told me he loves it here. ... You can see with the joy and energy and enthusiasm in which he approaches playing baseball at Fenway Park -- the fans love him."

Martinez, a middle-of-the-lineup force for the past two seasons, can opt out of the final three years of his contract this winter. Martinez, 32, needs to make his decision by five days after the World Series. Kennedy said the team is in wait-and-see mode and has not engaged in any specific discussions about his plans.

"You want J.D. Martinez in the middle of your lineup," Kennedy said. "He's a world champion and was a key part of last year's success, so we will see where it goes in the future."

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