I noted last night that Shaun Marcum’s $3.95 million, arbitration-avoiding contract with the Brewers included performance bonuses that could push him over the $4 million midpoint of figures filed by the sides last month. I learned the details this morning.
Marcum can earn an additional $100,000 for innings pitched — including a $50,000 bonus for reaching 190 innings and another $50,000 for 200 innings. Reaching that first milestone would put him right at the midpoint, and passing it would push him over.
Last year, Marcum pitched 195 1/3 innings for the Blue Jays. If he does that again, he’ll earn precisely the midpoint.
The deal also includes the usual array of awards bonuses for things like winning a Cy Young Award, but those performance bonuses were the key to reaching a settlement. Marcum filed for $5 million and the Brewers offered $3 million, and until Wednesday’s compromise the sides were poised to go to an arbitration hearing this afternoon in Phoenix.
The sticking point was Marcum’s $850,000 salary in 2010, his first year back from a full season lost to Tommy John elbow surgery. The Brewers argued that he was asking for too big a jump from one year to the next and pointed to the Twins’ Francisco Liriano, a pitcher in Marcum’s same four-plus service class who got a raise from $1.4 million to $4.3 million. But Marcum’s side argued that his ’10 salary was artificially low because of the elbow injury.
In the end, both sides could point to positives. The Brewers got a settlement below the midpoint, and Marcum got a chance to pitch his way over it. He also earned the largest year-to-year raise in history for a pitcher in his second year of arbitration, according to agent Rex Gary.
I found the details of the negotiations pretty interesting. Marcum, Gary and Brewers senior director of business operations Teddy Werner were all at the Phoenix Hyatt, Gary and Marcum in a work suite rented by the Players’ Association and Werner in one next door rented by Major League Baseball. After the Angels went into a hearing with pitcher Jered Weaver, the lone remaining “four-plus” starter still unsigned, Gary and Werner stepped outside by the pool and were able to get into a “deal zone,” as baseball people like to call it. They went back inside, then negotiated again closer to dinnertime and set the incentive structure in place.
So, Marcum was not actually standing there as Gary and Werner spoke, but he was only a few feet away, and he was prepared to sit in the hearing room Thursday if necessary. Happily for both sides, since arbitration hearings can be uncomfortable, things never got that far.
On a side note, Gary’s group also represents two pitchers who will be interesting to follow in camp. Lefty Mitch Stetter was a mainstay of the Brewers bullpen in 2009, but he was leapfrogged by Zach Braddock in a dismal 2010, and now faces an uncertain 2011. Another client is right-hander Zack Segovia, who inked a Minor League deal with Milwaukee in November that included an invitation to big league camp.