Recently, Tigers first baseman and two-time MVP award winner Miguel Cabrera made headlines when it was reported that the slugger turned down his playoff share — a small financial bonus for reaching the post-season. It turns out he was joking, but Cabrera doesn’t exactly need the bonus, as he inked an eight-year, $248 million contract extension earlier this year.
For others involved in the year-long process of attaining a post-season berth? The bonus can be a serious windfall, as David Waldstein details in a fantastic article in the New York Times.
Each year, as stipulated in the basic agreement between the players union and Major League Baseball, teams headed to the postseason hold a meeting to distribute shares. The money is designated in 25 full shares, but the players may divide the shares to include those who played during the year but were not on the playoff roster, as well as coaches, trainers and strength coaches.
Other nonuniformed personnel, like clubhouse attendants, chefs, public relations staff, security guards, bus drivers and grounds crew members — a precedent set in 1903 — can be awarded some of the cash.
“It can change a guy’s life,” Johnson said. “Our coach Brian Butterfield, when he was with the Red Sox, he gave his house to his son and his grandkids and moved into a new house. It changes lives. Guys are paying off college loans, house payments and cars. You can’t beat that.”
The most visible people involved with Major League Baseball tend to be the most compensated: players, managers, GM’s. But there are scores of others — including minor leaguers — who still live paycheck-to-paycheck and getting a post-season bonus can lift a thousand-pound weight off of one’s shoulders.