When the Cubs signed Tyler Chatwood last week to a three-year, $38 million deal (the biggest of the offseason so far, which is nuts), the contract included a unique provision that would increase the price of Chatwood’s third year with the Cubs if he gets a single Cy Young vote from the Baseball Writers Association of America.
At the time, we half-joked that the provision was problematic because a single rogue voter (from St. Louis!) could increase the cost of Chatwood’s contract, even if his performance didn’t necessarily merit a down-the-ballot Cy Young vote. Indeed, the possibility for more serious shenanigans are there, too, if there were, say, trading information for a vote, for one example.
The BBWAA saw things the same way this week when they met at the Winter Meetings:
— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) December 12, 2017
The Tyler Chatwood contract has language that ties in millions of dollars of bonuses for even one Cy Young vote. BBWA would consider banning him from consideration if that does not change Similar situation with Schilling years ago.
— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) December 12, 2017
As each of Wittenmyer and Levine note, you don’t see this kind of language in contracts these days, because a similar provision proved problematic 10 years ago with Curt Schilling. Bonus provisions tied to winning awards or a top five finish or something like that? Not really an issue. But a single vote? That seems very different.
Per Wittenmyer’s report, the BBWAA will meet with MLB, MLBPA officials, and Chatwood’s agent to discuss the issue.
We’ll see what happens. It’s possible a different bonus provision could be negotiated, or it’s possible – as the reports indicate that Chatwood would simply be prohibited from consideration for the awards, which would really suck for him. It seems like there should be a way to massage the language and keep all sides happy.
Hopefully this is resolved without any serious problems.