I don't have a problem with the approach necessarily, but it feels...weird...not having a true DH coming off of so many years of Ortiz and JDM anchoring the lineup.
I actually think it might make some sense, given the following assumptions.
1) If I'm doing the math right, we are something like $45m under the first threshold without Bogaerts.
2) We want another SP.
3) We were over the threshold last year, and don’t want to be over 3x in a row — but could.
4) We have a number of young position players on the 40-man roster with real question marks but a pile of offensive upside: Enmanuel Valdez, Jarren Duran, Bobby Dalbec, maybe Hoy Park or Wilyer Abreu. Hell, toss in Refsnyder and Arroyo, too.
5) DH would likely be the easiest place to add at the deadline.
So one option that actually seems pretty good would be aim to sign Bogaerts (for ~2/3 of our remaining amount under the threshold), then see if you can fit a Wacha/Eovaldi/trade target in what space remains, and then you go into camp with an open job at DH. This gives you a couple hundred PA to audition guys, and maybe somebody breaks out.
Would it really be all that shocking if Valdez (minor league OPS of .996 against RHP last season) and Dalbec (career .855 OPS against LHP) could be a reasonably-effective, very-cheap DH platoon, while also providing depth at a range of defensive positions? Maybe Duran finally settles on a swing that works for him and taps into the considerable offensive potential he showed in the minors as a power/speed guy.
Then you can reassess midseason. Maybe the rest of the roster is firing on all cylinders — Sale and Paxton are healthy and effective; Bello and Whitlock are seizing their rotation opportunities; Masa Yoshida is hitting the American League like it's the Pacific League; Casas is at .250/.350/.500 with a dozen HR — and we're in the thick of contention in a killer AL East. Then, if none of the spare parts have made themselves indispensible, we could add a rental power bat from a team that's out of contention midseason — Ian Happ? somebody like that — and either make the money work or decide we're going over to make a playoff run and we'll figure out a way to get back under in the offseason.