Jayson Stark reports that a fairly significant change is afoot in big-time contracts:
Major League Baseball and the players’ association have informed teams and agents that they no longer will approve personal-service deals and special “milestone” bonus clauses similar to those contained in Albert Pujols’ contract with the Los Angeles Angels, officials of both agencies told ESPN.com.
Existing deals like Pujols’ and Alex Rodriguez’s are OK, but no new ones can be signed.
The milestone bonuses, the league and union believe, go against language in the CBA that prohibit incentives for statistical achievements. As it is now you can be paid more based on plate appearances and games, for example, but not hits and wins. As for the personal services contracts, the league and union worry that such deals could be used to circumvent luxury tax calculations.
Given the league and union’s agreement on these sorts of general principles, it makes sense to not allow such clauses. Because really, once you open the door to loopholes, you’re going to undermine your goals in this regard.
Bill Whitehead of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that the Braves have signed reliever David Hernandez to a minor league contract on Sunday. He’ll report to spring training as a non-roster invitee.
Hernandez, who turns 32 years old in May, signed a minor league contract with the Giants in February. He requested and was granted his release on Friday when he learned he wasn’t making the team’s 25-man roster to open the season.
Hernandez pitched for the Phillies last year. He compiled a 3.84 ERA with an 80/32 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.
Scott Kazmir won’t begin the regular season in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Manager Dave Roberts said after Kazmir’s Cactus League outing on Sunday that it “doesn’t make sense” for the ailing Kazmir to break camp in the rotation, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. The lefty will instead rehab some more and join the rotation at a later time.
Kazmir has been battling a hip issue which has caused his mechanics to suffer. He was clocked in the low 80’s 10 days ago and wasn’t much better on Sunday afternoon.
Last season with the Dodgers, Kazmir posted a 4.56 ERA with a 134/52 K/BB ratio in 136 1/3 innings, his worst numbers since returning to the majors in 2013.