What's At Stake: Andy Pettitte and Contract Incentives

Bronx Baseball DailySenior Analyst ISeptember 18, 2009

BALTIMORE - AUGUST 31:  Andy Pettitte #46 of the New York Yankees pitches against the Baltimore Orioles on August 31, 2009 at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Then there is this bit from SI’s Jon Heyman:

“Andy Pettitte begged the Yankees to keep pitching through his shoulder fatigue—though it appears he’s going to make almost all his incentives and more than double his $5.5 million salary, anyway. Yankees people realize they need Pettitte in the playoffs.”

What Heyman is insinuating is that Pettitte wants to pitch more for his salary than anything else while River Ave Blues thinks differently:

“I doubt Andy wants to pitch just so he can reach his incentives. He knows as well as anyone what’s at stake right now, and if his shoulder really was an issue he wouldn’t be begging into September games when the team has a playoff spot all but locked up.”

I tend to agree with RAB. Maybe in the back of his mind he’s thinking about incentives, but Pettitte has earned a ton of money during his career. Do I really believe that after all this time at the age of 37 he cares more about three-quarters of a million dollars more than he does about being healthy and helping the Yankees in the playoffs? Absolutely not.

After all, he can do a lot more in the Yankees eyes by pitching well in October than he could by reaching all of his incentives.

For those of you wondering what his incentives are and where exactly he’s at, let’s take a look.

Pettitte started this season with a $5.5 million guaranteed salary. He could earn up to $2 million in roster bonuses, $0.1 million for 120 days on active 25-man roster; $0.2 million for 130 days; $0.25 million each for 140, 150 days; $0.4 million each for 160, 170, 180 days. He’s going to reach all of those meaning he’s up to $7.5 million so far this season.

He can also earn up to  another $4.5 million based on how many innings he throws. $0.5 million each for 150, 160, 170 innings; $0.75 million each for 180, 190, 200, 210 innings pitched. He’s thrown 178.1 innings so far at an average of just over six innings per start. That’s good for another $1.5 million so far and $9 million total.

If he makes one more start this season, based on his average innings, that would put him at about 184 innings and $9.25 million. Two more starts and it’s 190 and $10 million, three more and it would be about 196 and the same $10 million, but if he could manage to get 22 innings out of his next three starts, possible, that would put him at $10.75 million.

Is Pettitte really willing to risk the playoffs for $0.75 million? Probably not. In reality, he probably just feels fine and the Yankees are being overly cautious.

(Contract info via Cot’s Baseball Contracts)

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