Wednesday, January 12th, 2005
10:33 am - More on Derek Lowe  
Rob Neyer at espn.com wrote an article on what he thinks DePo's motivation was in giving Derek Lowe such a huge contract, given the season Lowe had. Basically it has to do with the fact that Lowe just doesn't give up home runs. Here are the key paragraphs:
Dodger Stadium, as noted above, is a pitcher's park. Has been a pitcher's park since Sandy Koufax was a young man. What it's not is tough on power hitters; over the last three seasons, Dodger Stadium's been one of the easier home-run parks in the National League. So why is it a pitcher's park? Because it just crushes doubles, triples, and batting average in general. Remove home runs from the equation, and Dodger Stadium is the pitcher-friendliest park in the league.

Derek Lowe removes home runs. The ballpark removes everything else. And suddenly we're looking at a pitcher who might, with just average luck and a good defense, post an ERA in the 3.50 range.

That article is normally subscription only, but apparently if you copy the URL listed for the article on ESPN's site, and replace the word "proxy" with the word "lite", and the words "column/story" with "columnist" (i.e. "http://proxy.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?id=1963581" becomes "http://lite.espn.go.com/mlb/columnist?id=1963581"), you can read the protected articles. Neat. [I will also point out that it can be flakey at times.]

On the subject of J.D. Drew, here's another bit of contract chicanery for veejane to add to her Scott Boras files. Apparently Drew's new contract with the Dodgers ($55M for 5 years) has a clause that allows him to declare himself a free agent again after two years if he "puts up big numbers," whatever that means. Note that the Dodgers are still forced to pay him if he puts up crappy numbers.
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Veejaneveejane on January 12th, 2005 - 08:02 am
I'm sorry? If you suck, you get $11M per year, but if you do well, you can skip town for the Yankees without bringin in any trade goods? What kind of crack was DePo smoking?

It's fat city for Boras -- he gets a nice big cut of the money either way. And it's very nice for Drew. And it's the craziest thing evar for the Dodgers.

I'm sort of surprised (a) this didn't get more publicity at the time and (b) MLB approved it. Sounds kind of squirrelly to me -- I thought performance clauses were not allowed to be based on good outcomes, only on things like games started, or plate appearances. That was the whole flap with Schilling's contract extension -- his World Series clause was illegal, and MLB only realized that after they'd formally approved it.
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DXMachinadxmachina on January 12th, 2005 - 08:22 am
What kind of crack was DePo smoking?

Beats the crap outta me. I can certainly understand why the Dodgers wouldn't want to publicize it at the time. They haven't said exactly what the conditions are under which Drew can opt out, at least not that I've been able to find. What exactly was Schilling's World Series clause? Some good outcomes are okay as incentives, things like winning awards and titles, or making the All-Star team.

You know who else it turns out is a Boras client? Eric Gagne.
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Veejaneveejane on January 12th, 2005 - 08:46 am
Schilling wrote a clause such that, if the Red Sox won the WS (in his first year or during the length of his contract, I don't know), he got an automatic raise of $2M for the next year, and turned the club option on 2007 into an automatic extra year.

The illegal part of it was "if the Red Sox..." instead of "if Schilling...", but in the process of explaining this illegality, someone pointed out that contracts aren't supposed to rest escalation clauses on things like BA or OPS. Awards and titles, I've heard of, but not a player's raw stats as escalators. Maybe Drew is assuming he'll win a batting title?
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DXMachinadxmachina on January 12th, 2005 - 08:52 am
Yeah, that's what I'm thinking. Maybe it's written as "If Drew is among the top five in the league in home runs, RBIS, and/or batting average both years" or some such.
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