In essence, the Red Sox appear to have agreed to an extension with the player and agent, then found a decent cover story (willing to do it, waiting to see how he recovers from surgery), all in the effort to dodge a year of luxury tax.
That seems dirty. If the Yankees did that, the talking heads on the four-letter network would be calling for an investigation.
Why don't the Yankees do that with Cliff Lee? Agree to split the luxury tax cost as a "signing bonus," and keep ~$20M 'off the books' for the 2011 payroll calculations.
(Long held correlative- why don't the Yankees sign every player to a $5M deal and give out the rest of the money in signing bonuses paid throughout the life of the deal, since [I believe] signing bonuses don't count toward luxury tax or revenue sharing [or did they close that loophole?]?).