(Surely I won’t be the only one to use that one.)
As you know, the Cardinals signed Matt Clement yesterday to fill up the rotation. More about the contract is available now, so let’s take a look at those terms:
the Cardinals acquired Clement for $1.5 million in base pay and $5.25 million in appearance incentives. The deal also includes a club option for $8.75 million next season. A series of escalators based on innings pitched could jack up the option’s value to $10 million if the 33-year-old righthander works 200 innings.
The Cardinals have an $8.75 million option for 2009 with a $250,000 buyout. The option would increase to $9 million and the buyout $500,000 if Clement reaches 160 innings this season; $9.5 million and $1 million for 180 innings; and $10 million and $1.5 million for 200 innings.
Let’s compare this contract to the one signed by another rehabber, Mark Prior. Prior signed a $1 million deal that could go up to $3 million if he hits all the incentives. However, Prior’s deal has no option for 2009 and it’s likely he won’t pitch until May/June, while Clement should–should–be ready to go Opening Day.
If Clement stays healthy and pitches well enough to hit those innings marks, even at the higher salary that option gets picked up. And just think about this one:
The option would become $11 million and the buyout $2 million if Clement finishes in the top five in 2008 Cy Young Award balloting.
Best case scenario, we could get a Cy Young candidate for $8.25 million a year for two years. That’d be worth it, don’t you think? Especially in a market where Carlos Silva can get $12 million a year for just being the best of a weak group.
The potential that Clement brings to the table will be big for the Cardinals. There are still a lot of ifs in the pitching staff, but if all of the players in the mix pitch to their potential or close to it, the Cardinals might be a little more competitive than we thought just a few days ago.
It also means that Anthony Reyes may get shopped. I’d hate to see that happen, but if the Cardinals could get a good young hitter for him, it’d probably be the best for all concerned.