Incentives

Kevin Baxter examines the weird world of contract incentives:

However, some clauses seem a bit strained. Houston Astros reliever LaTroy Hawkins, who doesn’t have a hit in 14 big league seasons, will get $25,000 if he’s the best-hitting pitcher in the National League this season. Seattle’s Tyler Walker, 8-12 over the last three seasons, will receive $150,000 if he’s the American League most valuable player and $100,000 more if he’s the World Series MVP.

But at least those are real awards. When Alex Rodriguez negotiated his $252-million contract with the Texas Rangers, he had a clause calling for a $150,000 bonus if he was selected MVP of the division series.

There is no MVP in the division series.

And after Saturday’s news, he wouldn’t win it even if there was one.

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Comments

  1. Chipmaker said...

    Rodriguez’ clause was presumptive that a Division Series MVP would be enacted at a future date. So far, nope.

    It cost the Rangers nothing to agree to it.

  2. MooseinOhio said...

    According to a few well placed sources I heard that Pedroia gets to write out that days lineup if he beats Francona in their best of seven pre-game Cribbage games and will get to move his locker into the manager’s office if wins the season series.

  3. Leo said...

    I always thought they should have more of these types of bonuses. 

    I mean why not pay Hawkins $1 million if he is the Cy Young winner?  Or pay Jason Varitek $5 million if he hits 60 home runs?  Or give Matt Lindstrom $1 million if he earns 75 saves?  And so on and so on.

    Odds are about eighty million to one against it. But if it did happen, it means that the team had an incredible, miraculous season, and that the player did something absurdly fantastic.

    Where is the harm in rewarding the player for it?

  4. KR said...

    Currently the CBA prohibits some of those types of incentives. Award? Ok. Appearances? Also ok. Most stats are out though—you can’t have an incentive for batting .300, or a lower than 2.50 ERA (or for a 1000 OPS, for that matter). I have a feeling counting stats are out too, no X saves or Y home runs. Apparently “best hitting pitcher” is ok, though, so I’m not sure what the distinction is there. (Well, and I think you can have an incentive for an award like the Rolaids thing that is based solely on stats and not voting, so I guess indirectly stats are ok.)

    Also, incentives based on the team’s performance are no good anymore; Curt Schilling got an incentive when the Red Sox won the WS in 2004, but that is no longer allowed.

  5. Leo said...

    Fine, then why not incentivize your closer for leading the league in saves or your mediocre backup catcher for leading the league in home runs?

    You would definitely want to make them a little more reasonable than I suggested for reaching the out-of-reach statistical milestones, but if Jason Varitek leads the league in home runs, there’s no reason not to pay him a $50-100,000 bonus. If Hawkins wins Cy Young, well, then he should get a nice bonus.

  6. Richard Dansky said...

    If memory serves, Tom Paciorek tried to get a billion-dollar bonus for winning the MVP award into his contract one year. Oddly enough, the team didn’t go for it.

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