If you look at the details of the professional baseball free agent (FA) contract, it is divided into a down payment, an annual salary, and an incentive (optional), which is a bonus concept that is given when a certain grade or standard is achieved. Among these, the most important thing players value is the down payment. This is because the annual salary is divided by the number of years of the contract, but the down payment is an amount paid at a time in small amounts. That’s why many players place more importance on how much down payment they receive than their annual salary.
If the down payment is small, the player’s greed is that he wants to earn more even the guaranteed annual salary. This is because incentives are uncertain income in that they are not guaranteed amounts. In addition, even if you agree with the club as an option that will be sufficient if you are skilled, unexpected variables such as injury may occur.
However, in the 2021 free agency market, veteran pitchers do not have a down payment, and contracts with more incentives than guaranteed salaries are popular. On the 16th, Doosan announced that it had signed a contract with left-hander Yu Hee-kwan (35) for a total of 1 billion won, including an annual salary of 300 million won and an incentive of 700 million won, without a down payment for one year. Prior to this, Gyu-min Woo (36) signed with Samsung for a total of KRW 1 billion, including 200 million KRW in annual salary and 600 million KRW in an annual salary for 1+1 year without a down payment. They agreed to 2 billion won. Yu Hee-gwan and Cha Woo-chan’s incentives account for 70% of the total amount, and Woo Gyu-min is 60%.
In particular, Cha Woo-chan and Yoo Hee-gwan faced difficulties in negotiations with the club enough to end their autographs after the spring camp began. It is highly likely that incentives higher than the down payment and guaranteed annual salary have become an obstacle to early compromise. Cha Myung-seok, who signed a contract with Cha Woo-chan, said, “If you are a healthy Cha-woo-chan, you can get all incentives.” I also made it.
In fact, there is a saying that pitchers are consumables in baseball. As all players, including the fielder, get older, their strength and speed will inevitably decrease, but in the case of pitchers, the speed of skill decline, such as a decrease in restraint, is inevitably fast. In such a situation, with the addition of the cold team’s evaluation, veteran free agent pitchers were forced to accept the cold reality. In the past, if there were many compassionate contracts in recognition of past contributions, it is clear that recent clubs have already been compensated for their past performances with a large annual salary, so the value of free agency has no choice but to judge the future. However, this is the second free agency event, after both Woo Gyu-min and Cha Woo-chan broke free FA jackpots of 6.5 billion won and 9.5 billion won, respectively, four years ago, but in the case of Yoo Hee-gwan, it is a contract that leaves a lot of regret.
So, veteran pitchers who had signed an FA contract were tasked with maintaining tension throughout the season to achieve incentive standards, rather than entering the new season with a comfortable mind. It seems that veteran pitchers facing free agency now have to consider that without certain strengths and weapons, they are more likely to face this reality. Meanwhile, with Yoo Hee-gwan’s contract, pitcher Lee Yong-chan remains the only unsigned player in the free agency market.
Reporter Song Yong-joon [email protected]
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