Thursday, March 12, 2009

Admiring the comedic genius of MLB contracts, part II

Latest in a series of posts that shed some light into the nuances and comedic genius of MLB contracts, incentives and bonuses.

Today's contractual goodies come from the new Braves starter, Kenshin Kawakami:
  • $7,667,000-2009
  • $6,667,000-2010
  • $6,667,000-2011
  • Signing bonus - $2,000,000, payable between February 2009 and May 2009.
  • Plus: $100,000 for Cy Young; $100,000 for Rookie of the Year ($50,000-2nd; $25,000-3rd); $50,000 for Rolaids; $50,000 for All Star; $50,000 for WS/MVP; $50,000 for Gold Glove; $25,000 for LCS/MVP.
  • Plus: Interpreter
  • Housing during Spring Training
  • SUV during Spring Training
  • $25,000 moving expense
  • 8 round trip First/Business Class tickets between Tokyo and Atlanta
  • Access to massage therapist
  • If new contract not agreed upon by 10/15/11 or oneday after last game of World Series, Player may elect free agency under Article XX
Now this is what bugs me: A guy's making almost $8m this season yet he needs to be compensated on a freakin' car rental and housing during Spring Training? What about the struggling (real) rookies who are making $35k? Do they get housing paid for?

Access to a massage therapist? Shoot, I have that; it's called a phone. I call and make an appointment. Isn't that access? What, he can't afford the $100 for the hour of deep tissue massage?

Don't get me started on the plane tickets since I think that's as big a farce as there is in these contracts. Just estimate the cost of 8 tickets and add that to the total so not to alienate his teammates. Dumb. A quick Expedia search found me a one-stop flight from Atlanta, first class ticket for $6,500 on Continental. That's $52k. It would bump his salary from $7.7m to, um, $7.7m. A lousy rounding error.

Lastly, what's with the Rolaids bonus? He's not their closer, is he? Where is the Silver Slugger award bonus? The agent must have been snoozing.


tHeMARksMiTh said...

For the Rolaids Award, this is my thought. As it currently stands, Atlanta has these pitchers for next season: Hudson, Lowe, Vazquez, Kawakami, Jurrjens, and Hanson. Considering he is the uncertainty (other than Hanson) because of the change of leagues, this might be a clause to put him in at closer next season when Gonzalez and Soriano may no longer be with the team. His cutter/curveball combination might make him a pretty good late inning guy.

Alex C said...

Considering that he is a stranger in a strange land I don't see what's so crazy about getting the team to arrange some niceties for him. I would do the same thing if I were Tokyo bound and someone was give me mounds of money.

Craig Calcaterra said...

I don't know that Hudson will be with the team in 2010. Isn't this his last year under contract? Do you think the Braves will want to sign him right after coming off rehab after how long they were burned by Hampton?

tHeMARksMiTh said...

He has an option for next season, and everything I've seen quoted from Wren has Hudson in his plans. If he has significant problems with his arm, then they may not exercise his option for next season. Actually, they could do that and then sign him for cheaper. Also, Hudson doesn't quite have the injury history Hampton did. A one-year deal wouldn't be too big of a risk. I guess we'll just have to see how this season goes.

tHeMARksMiTh said...
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