The MLB contract details you didn’t know

6 03 2010

It’s no secret that professional athletes have detail contracts that can drastically alter the amount of money they make. And a greater amount of sports fans are becoming aware of different club, player and mutual options that exist, especially when a guaranteed amount of money can negatively impact a fan’s favorite team in the future. In light of that, I went to Cot’s Baseball Contracts to discover which players had the most significant perks and options. It’s a heck of a list. (Mets fans will definitely want to sit down before reading this and possibly might want to consider skipping it altogether.) Here we go:

Cot’s Baseball Contracts cautions that all information is unofficial and has been collected from various published reports:

Bobby Abreu has a $9 million option for 2012 — it’s not clear if it’s player, team or mutual — that becomes guaranteed if he records 550 plate appearances in 2011 or 1,100 plate appearances from 2010-11.


Eric Chavez, who played 31 games from 2008-09 and 90 in ’07, will be paid $12M in ’10 and has a $12.5M club option in ’11 ($3M buyout).


Kenshin Kawakami’s perks from his 2009 deal: Interpreter; $25K for moving expenses; housing and SUV during Spring Training; access to massage therapist; 8 round-trip business- or first-class airline ticket between Tokyo and Atlanta.


Carlos Zambrano’s $19.25M vesting player option for 2013 becomes guaranteed if he finishes first or second in the 2011 Cy Young vote or if he finishes in the top 4 of the 2012 Cy Young vote and is healthy at the end of 2012.


Kosuke Fukudome’s perks from his 2008 deal: Eight first-class round-trip airline tickets between Japan and Chicago for his family each year; a personal trainer; a masseuse; an interpreter; visa expenses; $25K annually in moving expenses; a vehicle during Spring Training and the regular season.


Adam LaRoche has a $1.5M buyout from a $7.5M mutual option in ’11. That buyout amount rises to $9.5M if he’s traded at any time.


If you’re a Giants fan, sit down: Barry Zito still has four guaranteed years left at $76M — and that’s before you get to his $18M club option in 2014 that has a $7M buyout. The option vests with 200 IP in 2013 or 400 IP in 2012-13 or 600 IP in 2011-13.


Ichiro Suzuki had a $32K “housing allowance” for the first season of his deal, in 2008, and it increases by $1K each year through 2012.


Assuming he’s on the active ML roster at the end of this season, Ken Griffey Jr. gets $50K if the Mariners draw 2.4 million fans, another $50K for 2.45 million fans and $100K if they hit 2.5 million fans.


Jose Lopez can earn $125K in physical performance bonuses this year: $25K for passing each of the four in-season physical tests: body-fat percentage; 60-yard sprint; 20-yard shuttle run; vertical jump. Then he gets another $25K if he passes all four.


Get a load of this: Johan Santana has a $25M club option ($5.5M buyout) for 2014 that changes to a player option under all the following scenarios:

  • He wins at least one Cy Young from 2008-13 and finishes second or third in the Cy Young vote in one other season, and
  • He ranks second or third in the Cy Young vote in any three seasons from 2008-13, and
  • He is on the active roster for the final 30 days of the 2013 season, and
  • pitches 215 innings in 2013, or
  • pitches 420 innings in 2012-13, or
  • pitches 630 innings in 2011-13

Yikes, that’s complex. For what it’s worth, he finished third in ’08 and was out of the race in ’09.


Carlos Beltran’s perks: Hotel suite on the road; 15-person suite at home games; the right to purchase post-season tickets (Mets fans are laughing now); the right to lease an ocular enhancer machine, which is a device that throws numbered and multi-colored tennis balls at 150 miles per hour.


Oh boy, another Mets contract. Francisco Rodriguez has a $17.5M option ($3.5M buyout) in 2012 that becomes guaranteed if he completes the following:

  • 55 games finished in 2011, and
  • 100 games finished in 2010-11, and
  • Doctors declare Frankie healthy after the 2011 season

By the way, the Mets are already on the hook in 2012 for $25.5M to Johan and $16M to Jason Bay. A starter, a closer and a left fielder for potentially $59M. Cry, Mets fans, cry.


Brian Roberts has limited no-trade protection for the next two years. He can block trades to eight teams in 2010 and 12 clubs in 2011, although the teams are unspecified. Food for thought if the O’s try to complete their youth movement by trading the 31-year-old while he still has good value.


Check out Dice-K’s perks: Physical therapist; massage therapist; interpreter; eight first-class round-trip airline tickets per year between Boston and Japan; Spring Training housing allowance of up to $25K; Boston housing allowance of up to $75K; one-time moving allowance of up to $35K; use of Lincoln Town Car or a similar car; Red Sox player ticket package, including two field box seats; a team employee to assists Japanese media; uniform No. 18.


Remember how Magglio Ordonez’s $18M club option in 2010 became guaranteed once he surpassed 457 plate appearances in 2009? Well, his $15M club option for 2011 becomes guaranteed if he records 135 starts or 540 plate appearances in 2010 OR 270 starts or 1,080 plate appearances from 2009-10. (He needs 139 starts or 562 plate appearances in 2010 for that $15M to become guaranteed in 2011. Don’t be surprised by Maggs getting tagged with a mysterious injury and being placed on the DL.


Alex Rodriguez has a $30M marketing agreement based on his home run milestones. He gets $6M each for the following accomplishments: 660 HRs, 714, 755, 762 (ML record), and breaking 762.




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