How to turn a guaranteed contract into a non-guaranteed contract

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Jeff Passan has an interesting story over at Yahoo! today. It’s a look at the language teams are increasingly inserting into individual player contracts which outline the circumstances under which a player’s contract can be transformed from a guaranteed deal to a non-guaranteed one.

It doesn’t happen often — Passan notes three players who have had it happen, and in each case a settlement on the final dollars owed was reached — but he reports that teams are increasingly looking for ways to hedge against risk. Or, if you are skeptical of team intentions, look for ways out of bad deals. For now the bulk of the language relates to thinks like engaging in dangerous activities such as skydiving, skiing and martial arts. There are moves, however, particularly by the Cubs, Nats and Yankees, to try to build in language that covers PEDs.

As Passan notes such language is likely trumped by the Joint Drug Agreement and the CBA. But it’s an area that some in the union may worry will be one in which teams attempt to become more proactive.

Fascinating stuff, particularly the exhaustive list of prohibited activities in Cubs contracts. It sort of puts a whole new twist on that Rogers Hornsby quote in which he said he spent his offseason looking out the window and waiting for spring. These days, it seems, that’s all a player could do without risking his contract.