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Saturday, December 16, 2017

Chatwood Initial Deal with Cubs Violated Rules – Inside the Seams

Former Rockies right-hander Tyler Chatwood agreed to a three-year, $38 million free-agent contract with the Cubs. Nothing wrong with that. The deal, however, included a clause that if he received one Cy Young vote — even for fifth place — his 2019 salary would be increased $2 million, and if he received one vote in 2018 and one vote in 2019 he would receive a $4 million raise in his salary for 2019. One problem — that clause was illegal, and if anybody should have known the Cubs should have. The initial ban on such clauses was put in place when the Red Sox included a clause in Curt Schilling’s 2008 contract providing a $1 million bonus if he received a Cy Young vote. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, the top two men on the baseball side of the Cubs, were the top men in the Red Sox front office in 2008.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 16, 2017 at 01:04 PM | 22 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs, tyler chatwood

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   1. cardsfanboy Posted: December 16, 2017 at 01:35 PM (#5593718)
That is one of the few sensible rules MLB has on incentives. I mean a 2mil payout would make it pretty tempting to try and buy a 5th place vote from some writer for 50,000 or so. I mean he would still have to pitch good to make it non-obvious, but if he's a top 10-15 candidate, I could see a writer giving him a 5th place vote for a $50,000 check. (heck for a $500 check... it's not like most professional bbwaa writers have ethics or morals)
   2. The Ghost of Logan Schafer Posted: December 16, 2017 at 02:18 PM (#5593744)
Jimmy Nelson is selling T-shirts that say "I got one vote for the 2017 NL Cy Young and all I got was this
crummy torn labrum from diving back into first base after making too big of a turn."
   3. Voodoo Posted: December 16, 2017 at 02:28 PM (#5593749)
MLB should take all the Cubs' prospects away from them.
   4. Walt Davis Posted: December 16, 2017 at 04:13 PM (#5593801)
#3 ... no worries, we took care of that on our own by trading them all away.
   5. The Yankee Clapper Posted: December 16, 2017 at 05:41 PM (#5593832)
… if anybody should have known the Cubs should have. The initial ban on such clauses was put in place when the Red Sox included a clause in Curt Schilling’s 2008 contract providing a $1 million bonus if he received a Cy Young vote. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, the top two men on the baseball side of the Cubs, were the top men in the Red Sox front office in 2008.

So, they are recidivists? Increase the punishments - make the Cubs pay the bonuses regardless of any Cy Young votes, and no refreshments in the executive luxury box.
   6. vortex of dissipation Posted: December 16, 2017 at 06:44 PM (#5593851)
Serious question - I knew about this rule, and I would suspect that a sizeable percentage of those on this site do. So how did it get this far? The team's employees and the player's representative(s) are professionals, who do this for a living. Wasn't there someone who could simply say, "hey, that is forbidden by MLB rules" before the clause actually got into the contract? How many people see the contract before it's sent to the commissioner's office, and don't they check for this kind of thing?
   7. cardsfanboy Posted: December 16, 2017 at 07:01 PM (#5593854)
Serious question - I knew about this rule, and I would suspect that a sizeable percentage of those on this site do. So how did it get this far? The team's employees and the player's representative(s) are professionals, who do this for a living. Wasn't there someone who could simply say, "hey, that is forbidden by MLB rules" before the clause actually got into the contract? How many people see the contract before it's sent to the commissioner's office, and don't they check for this kind of thing?


In some respects I was wondering the same thing, I mean this isn't an 'unknown' rule for baseball insiders, it was pretty widely reported during the Schilling saga, and then there has been 2 cba's since then and both of them have made adjustments to incentive rules.
   8. The Yankee Clapper Posted: December 16, 2017 at 07:20 PM (#5593858)
Would MLB look more favorably on such arrangements if they were phrased in terms of being in the Top 10 of Cy Young Award voting? I don't think 10 pitchers even get votes most years, so it'd have the same effect.
   9. Nasty Nate Posted: December 16, 2017 at 07:43 PM (#5593864)
Serious question - I knew about this rule, and I would suspect that a sizeable percentage of those on this site do. So how did it get this far?
Good question.

However, I pay pretty close attention to transactions and I did not know about the rule, and even after reading the linked article, I still don't know the specific rule. There are lots of contract bonuses based on the CY Young award, right? Those are still legal? Can you only give a bonus based on finish in the awards voting, not directly on the votes themselves?

The more famous Schilling/Theo illegal contract bonus was in their first contact, before the '04 season, when the deal originally had a clause with a bonus if the Sox won the World Series, if I recall correctly.
   10. Ziggy's screen name Posted: December 16, 2017 at 08:14 PM (#5593874)
Note first that I haven't RTFA. Now, if this clause gets nixed, I presume that Chatwood is going to get a check for the value of the clause. So, what's the value of the clause? It could be:

(A) (P(vote in 2018) * 2m) + (P(vote in 2018 & 2019) * 4m)

or it could be

(B) (P(BBWAA voter can be bribed to vote for Chatwood in 2018) * (2m - cost of bribe)) + (P(BBWAA voter can be bribed in 2018 & 2019) * (4m - 2*(cost of bribe)))

If it's (A) then it's pretty close to zero. Chatwood isn't a bad pitcher, but this is the dude who led the league in losses last year. If it's (B) then I have no idea what this clause is worth. But if the clause is illegal because they're worried about players bribing voters, then you'd think that that possibility would go into figuring what the clause is worth. OTOH there's no way that they're going to cut him a check for the value of (B). I guess what I'm trying to say is that banning these clauses because of the fear of bribes, and then valuing the clause at (A), doesn't sound especially consistent.
   11. Bourbon Samurai, what price fettucine? Posted: December 16, 2017 at 09:39 PM (#5593894)
Serious question - I knew about this rule, and I would suspect that a sizeable percentage of those on this site do. So how did it get this far? The team's employees and the player's representative(s) are professionals, who do this for a living. Wasn't there someone who could simply say, "hey, that is forbidden by MLB rules" before the clause actually got into the contract? How many people see the contract before it's sent to the commissioner's office, and don't they check for this kind of thing?


When we do contract we take a template and then adjust names and terms. My bet is somebody used an old template to base the contract on, and the various people charged with reviewing it assumed it was fine because it was based on a pre-approved template. They don't write these things from scratch each time.

edit- hmm, if the ban was put in place in 2008 that doesn't seem all that likely.
   12. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: December 16, 2017 at 10:11 PM (#5593900)
9 - was that against the rules or was the rule put in place in response to that contract?
   13. Meatwad Posted: December 16, 2017 at 10:47 PM (#5593907)
IIRC the BBWAA already said they would not. Include him in the cy young vote because of this clause.
   14. Nasty Nate Posted: December 16, 2017 at 10:49 PM (#5593908)
9 - was that against the rules or was the rule put in place in response to that contract?
I think the '04 one was against the rules, but the CY vote rule in '08 or whenever was put in place in response to that respective contract.
   15. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: December 16, 2017 at 10:58 PM (#5593910)
"If ya ain't cheatin', ya ain't tryin'..."
   16. Sunday silence Posted: December 17, 2017 at 12:52 AM (#5593927)
When we do contract we take a template and then adjust names and terms. My bet is somebody used an old template to base the contract on, and the various people charged with reviewing it assumed it was fine because it was based on a pre-approved template.


Right, for example when we do housing agreements we specifically have clauses that we wont rent to blacks and homosexuals and the people reviewing them pass them right on because, you know, they're based on templates.
   17. The Duke Posted: December 17, 2017 at 10:59 AM (#5593968)
Theo doesn’t get a lifetime ban and their minor league organization doesn’t get decapitated and the org doesn’t have to lose it’s international bonus money? Very disappointing, I guess the major leagues really do hate the Braves.
   18. Adam S Posted: December 17, 2017 at 12:09 PM (#5593985)
(heck for a $500 check... it's not like most professional bbwaa writers have ethics or morals)


Do you really believe this? What evidence do you have? Let's not conflate disagreeing on matters of opinion with lack of ethics or morals - there's too much of that in our society.

Theo doesn’t get a lifetime ban and their minor league organization doesn’t get decapitated and the org doesn’t have to lose it’s international bonus money? Very disappointing, I guess the major leagues really do hate the Braves.


Did I miss the part of the story where the Cubs hid this contractual language from MLB, put in place a huge effort to cover up what was going on, and then proceeded to make a series of payments knowing they were illegal under the rules?
   19. cardsfanboy Posted: December 17, 2017 at 01:06 PM (#5594001)
Do you really believe this? What evidence do you have? Let's not conflate disagreeing on matters of opinion with lack of ethics or morals - there's too much of that in our society.


The double standard that they impose by moralizing their Anti-Ped stance. It happened under their watch, it was their job to report on it and they failed to do that, instead used code words like "vitamins" to signal that they were suspecting them of using PED's, then a decade later, they refuse to vote for those guys. It's hypocrisy and shows a complete and utter lack of any moral fortitude.... Add in many have an intentional dislike at trying to improve their understanding of the sport, and basically you got an entire group of people collecting a paycheck for basically the success of their first year and just sticking around on reputation.

Can you imagine if a guy was a doctor for twenty years and someone told him about a new procedure that cures a disease, and the guy refused to learn the procedure because he already knows all he ever needed to know about being a doctor from his years of experience and anything new is from new fangled book nerds who live in their basement studying instead of actually out in the field doing the work. This is what a large percentage of baseball writers do.

I have zero respect for a large percentage of the bbwaa writers, especially the ones who have the vote for the hof. It's not a matter of disagreeing opinions, it's willing incompetence, and the hypocrisy that makes me dislike them. They are maybe one rung above lawyers on the evolutionary scale, which is a few rungs below cockroaches and wasps(not the human type, but the bastards that have yellow jackets in the family)
   20. Sunday silence Posted: December 17, 2017 at 01:49 PM (#5594014)
Can you imagine if a guy was a doctor for twenty years and someone told him about a new procedure that cures a disease, and the guy refused to learn the procedure because he already knows all he ever needed to know about being a doctor from his years of experience and anything new is from new fangled book nerds who live in their basement studying instead of actually out in the field doing the work. This is what a large percentage of baseball writers do.


this happens routinely which you may find as you get old. So it doesnt help your argument.

BUt I get your larger point.
   21. TomH Posted: December 18, 2017 at 04:33 PM (#5594657)
cfb, you'd probably like this funny item I ran across; who on the current Cardinal roster has the most SB as a Cardinal?
   22. cardsfanboy Posted: December 18, 2017 at 04:50 PM (#5594673)
cfb, you'd probably like this funny item I ran across; who on the current Cardinal roster has the most SB as a Cardinal?


I saw that on another thread, I get that Yadier is one of the slowest guys in the league, but he still manages to steal about 7 bases a year, simply by timing. (Pujols is first among players who are still active in the majors and most stolen bases as a Cardinal with 84 compared to Yadiers 56) (if Wong plays for the Cardinals this season, he'll pass Yadier at some point in time as he has 53)

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