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.