Boston Red Sox President & CEO Sam Kennedy speaks during a news conference at Fenway Park on Monday. Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

BOSTON — After spending $240 million on a team that won 84 games, the Boston Red Sox need to do some soul searching.

But here’s the thing: The bag of bruised apples John Henry purchased in 2019 wasn’t all Dave Dombrowski’s fault.

Red Sox President Sam Kennedy and the four-person team of stand-in general managers who participated in year-end press conferences made it clear they all were complicit in the decision-making that has put the team’s payroll in a pickle.

When Dombrowski was hired in 2015, he made it very clear he wanted (and was given) total authority in baseball operations. Kennedy would run the business side and Dombrowski the baseball side.

But Monday, Kennedy said he had a seat at the table for baseball decisions during Dombrowski’s reign as president of baseball operations.

“I’m glad you asked that, because there’s definitely misperception that Dave and I didn’t work closely together or get along, I even read,” Kennedy said. “We worked very closely together and he would come to me, John and Tom (Werner) with his player personnel recommendations and the thinking around different player moves.”

Henry said last Friday he didn’t agree with Dombrowski philosophically on the way the team spent money in 2019 (but signed the checks anyway).

It’s hard to make that claim when Henry’s right-hand man, Kennedy, was present for the decisions, too.

“I had the good fortune of being a part of those discussions from Game 1,” Kennedy said. “He did make it very clear that when he arrived, he would make the day-to-day player personnel decisions, which he did. Did a great job. But I want to make it very, very clear that decisions involving certain amounts of financial commitments or long-term decisions that face the franchise, John, Tom and I worked together to give Dave feedback and authorization and approval on player personnel moves.

“I look at it as we were a good team and collaborated very well together as we attacked those decisions as an organization.”

Very well until the end, that is.

Dombrowski took the fall and the Sox rightfully recognized they need to start looking to the future. They probably did it a year too late.

And now the team finds itself in a sticky situation with its payroll. The Sox are losing around $50 million in expiring contracts, but gaining roughly just as much in salary raises via contract extensions and arbitration increases.

So they will have to clear about $30 million if they want to get under the $208 million luxury tax threshold, which will reset the team’s penalties and allow them to ramp back up the payroll in 2021 and 2022, just like they did in 2018 and 2019 after resetting in 2017.

Just don’t think it’s all Dombrowski’s fault they ended up in this mess.

“The players we signed under Dave’s leadership are great players, very talented players,” said Brian O’Halloran, one of the acting GMs. “We’re glad to have Chris Sale, for example, on our team in 2020 and beyond. The same for Nate Eovaldi.”

It sure doesn’t seem like it.

Unless they trade Mookie Betts, who should make around $30 million in his final year of arbitration before free agency, the Sox will face something of a nightmare scenario as they try to find a willing trade partner for high-priced talents like Sale, Eovaldi, David Price or J.D. Martinez, who seems likely to opt into his $24 million salary in 2020.

Was it a mistake to sign Eovaldi or extend Sale last year?

“Certainly making those commitments does make getting under the CBT threshold in 2020 more challenging,” O’Halloran said. “Going back to what John and Tom and Sam said, that is a goal, not a mandate (to get under $208 million). There are scenarios where we end up under, and scenarios where we don’t. The goal is to build a championship-caliber team, and those guys are going to help us to do that.”

Whoever is being interviewed to be the next leader of the front office better bring a notebook full of creative ideas.

One thing is for sure: That person won’t be making these decisions alone.

Kennedy appears ready to take on an advanced role in the front office.

“I think the best structure for a sports organization is to ensure that the president and CEO has a seat at the table, has a voice in baseball operations or hockey operations or football operations, and can work collaboratively with the general manager or president of baseball ops,” Kennedy said. “That’s the way it’s worked here since 2002.”

He said it’s not appropriate for him to make player evaluation decisions, but wants to be involved when financial commitments are being made.

Just like he was involved last year.

The mess in which the Red Sox now find themselves was brought to you by Dombrowski, but the entire front office was complicit.

Soon we’ll find out: Do they have a good plan to get out of it?

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