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Do people really think John Lackey is going to play for the MLB minimum? Really?
At best, that contract provision gives the Red Sox leverage to negotiate a somewhat lower than fair market deal if they want to retain Lackey's services for his age-36 season and beyond. But not MLB-minimum low - Lackey would have too much incentive to retire or just totally tank the start of the season to earn his release, which is not to say that there is any guarantee that he'll still be effective at age 36.
He'll have earned about $108M, he can certainly afford to retire, so it's hardly a trivial threat.
Perhaps it's possible that he'll just consider it a bad bargain that he freely made
but it seems far more likely he'll think "I pitched my arm off for those bastards - to the point of needing surgery - and then came back to help them get to and win the World Series, and now they're going to #### me over and pay me the minimum. HELL, NO!!!!"
I'm still not sure how Ortiz' 2014 AAV is $17M when he's never made that much in his career. Bonuses or something?
How many retirement-eligible employees would work another year if their employer only offered 3% of their previous year's salary for staying?
Not many people take a 97% pay cut if they don't have to. Lackey doesn't have to.
What evidence do you have of Lackey being dishonorable? His divorce?
Under the particular circumstances, yes.
If he has a good year I expect that Dave H is right and they replace the minimum year with an extension that replaces the option year but also has a much lower AAV than Lackey would have otherwise gotten.
That's like one of the only cases where YC's question is completely irrelevant.
The thing about Lackey, though, is that he should be able to sign another contract or two after this one is done. So if he's pitching we'll, it's not just the one year at minimum wage it's the one year plus another 2 or 3 at 10 million or so.
But you don't have enough information about the circumstances surrounding Lackey's divorce to know whether it was "dishonorable."
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