Earlier this week, it was revealed that the Baseball Writers Association of America was considering making Tyler Chatwood ineligible for the Cy Young Award due to language in his contract that would have increased his base salary (not provided a bonus or incentive) if he’d received even one Cy Young vote.
After discussions throughout the day between BBWAA representatives and officials for MLB and the union, including a rep from Chatwood’s agency, all sides agreed to change the problematic language.
It’s not clear what the changed language will provide, but Cubs GM Jed Hoyer provided an explanation of why this clause was offered in the first place:
The Cubs were trying to find a quality-based measure that didn’t set the bar unreasonably high for the escalator when they offered the single-vote clause to Chatwood, said general manager Jed Hoyer, who was Epstein’s assistant GM in Boston in 2007. (MLB doesn’t allow performance-based stats such as wins and losses or ERA to be used).
“I respect that side of the argument. I get it,” said Hoyer, who pointed out the language essentially is equivalent to setting the bar at a Cy Young finish between, say, sixth and 10th place, a commonly used clause (So many pitchers rarely receive votes). All-Star selections are flawed, he said, in part because it measures only the first part of the season.
“If this is the one that brings this subject to a head, I’m OK with that,” he added. “I just hope that the writers will come up with something else that teams are able to use in order to put in contracts. I think we can write better contracts, that we can be more creative if there are ways to qualitatively measure a player.”
If the language was “essentially ... setting the bar between sixth and 10th place,” why didn’t they just say that? That wouldn’t have run afoul of any BBWAA rules, I don’t think.
So in the end, this turned out to be nothing more than a kerfuffle. Obviously, everyone connected with the Cubs would love to see Chatwood collect on any sort of Cy Young bonus or incentive. That would mean he’s one of the better pitchers in the National League. If he can pitch everywhere the way he’s thrown away from Coors Field the last two years, the Cubs will have made an excellent signing.