5 Most Unbelievable MLB Contract Clauses and Incentives

Jason Martinez@@mlbdepthchartsContributor IAugust 13, 2013

5 Most Unbelievable MLB Contract Clauses and Incentives

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    The Yankees are unlikely to avoid paying Alex Rodriguez for at least the last two-plus years of his current deal, which runs through the 2017 season. Unless his 211-game suspension is decreased after his current appeal, that's an estimated $55 million owed to a player who will be approaching his 40th birthday when he's eligible to return after the first 49 games of the 2015 season. 

    Looking on the bright side, they'll save nearly $32 million (his entire 2014 salary and 49 games' worth of his 2015 salary) if his suspension is upheld, which would be huge as the team heads into an offseason with several key free agents and plenty of holes to fill.

    On top of those enormous savings, the Yankees can rest easy knowing that Rodriguez never earned the $150,000 for winning a playoff division series MVP...because it doesn't exist. 

    So while Rodriguez is known more for his lack of playoff success as a Yankee, it should be pointed out that he could've been in the running for the "ALDS MVP" had it existed when he went 8-for-19 with a homer and three doubles during a series win against the Twins in 2004, his first playoff appearance since signing the contract with Texas prior to the 2001 season.

    Maybe Rodriguez figured out the contract error after that 2004 series and it sent him into a tailspin over his next three ALDS appearances (7-for-44 from 2005-2007).

    His new 10-year contract, which he signed prior to the 2008 season, has no such clause as far as I can tell. But after a 5-for-11 performance with two homers in a three-game ALDS sweep over the Twins in 2009 followed by a 7-for-45 slump in his next three appearances, we can't be sure he wasn't motivated by another fake division-series incentive, only to have it taken away after finding out he'd been duped again.

    While there are several other silly and unattainable clauses included in player contracts, including a Gold Glove incentive for Adam Dunn and Silver Slugger incentives for relief pitchers and Cesar Izturis, who hits like a relief pitcher, here are five of the most unbelievable contract clauses and incentives in major league history.    

The Bulldozer Clause

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    While it wasn't written into his contract, Astros pitcher Roy Oswalt earned himself a brand-new bulldozer by winning Game 6 of the 2005 National League Championship Series. 

    Prior to the game, Astros owner Drayton McLane agreed to buy Oswalt the bulldozer if he won the game, which would send the team to its first World Series ever. Oswalt allowed just one run over seven strong innings to lead his team to a 5-1 victory over the Cardinals. 

    McLane then presented a Caterpillar D6N XL, which cost approximately $200,000, to Oswalt during the offseason. 

The Elbow Clause

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    When the Red Sox signed right-hander John Lackey to a five-year, $82.5 million deal prior to the 2010 season, they made what appears to be a genius move by adding a conditional club option at the end of the deal (2015) that could keep him in Boston at the league minimum (currently $490,000). 

    The option would only come into play, however, if Lackey missed significant time due to a preexisting elbow injury.

    Not only did Lackey trigger the clause by missing the entire 2012 season due to Tommy John surgery, he's back to being a very good pitcher in 2013 (3.32 ERA in 133 innings pitched). And he'll likely be a nice bargain in 2015. 

The Equestrian Clause

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    Troy Glaus reached free agency at age 28 with a career OPS of .854 and an average of 26 homers per season. He also had three All-Star selections and a World Series MVP under his belt.

    So when negotiating his next contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks, with whom he would eventually sign for five years and $45 million, he had every right to ask for something as outlandish as $250,000 to pay for expenses related to his wife's equestrian lessons. 

    It's paid off, though. While Glaus retired after the 2010 season, Ann Glaus is a world-class equestrian champion who, as of June 2012, was still competing, according to John Patton of Ocala.com

The Moustache Clause

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    Rollie Fingers' handlebar moustache is familiar to most baseball fans. But the origin of why he grew it is not.

    During the 1972 season, A's owner Charlie Finley offered a $300 bonus to whichever one of his players would grow the best moustache. Fingers won the cash prize and an extra $100 for moustache wax, which he used to help pattern his 'stache after the players from the late 1800s.

The 'We'll Pay You Later with Interest' Clause

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    When the Mets released a no-longer-productive Bobby Bonilla prior to the 2000 season, they owed him a total of $5.9 million. For some strange reason, they chose to defer the amount and begin paying 10 years later.

    The agreement called for the team to pay Bonilla $1,193,248.20 from 2011 to 2035 for a grand total of nearly $30 million! That a major league organization couldn't just pay off $5.9 million in one lump sum as opposed to giving up an extra $24 million down the road is unfathomable. 

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