With 19 games left in the 2013 season, the Brewers playoff race is officially over. For a handful of players, though, there's still a significant amount of money on the line in the season's final weeks. Here's a quick look at some of the contract incentives Brewers have already reached this season, and a few more within reach.
As always, thanks to Cot's Contracts for being an invaluable resource when looking up stuff like this.
Incentives already reached: None
Within reach: $350,000 for pitching 190 innings
There could be a bit of suspense here, with the Brewers shuffling their rotation a bit for the season's final games. Lohse currently sits at 175.2 innings, 14.1 short of the incentive threshold. Two long starts or three regular starts and he'll probably get there, but he's been roughed up in two of his last three outings. He's likely to get at least three more starts, but it's not a given.
Incentives already reached: $300,000 total. $25k each for appearing in 50, 60, 70 and 80 games, and $50k each for appearing in 90, 100, 110 and 120 games.
Within reach: $100k each for appearing in 130 and 140 games.
This is the one that makes my head hurt. We've had all kinds of conversations about why Yuniesky Betancourt shouldn't be a major leaguer, let alone one who plays every day. I think Fred nailed it three months ago when he said this:
Basically - I see Yuniesky Betancourt, and I feel the organization has given up. And that's not a good feeling.
Somehow, though, Yuni has appeared in 122 games this season. He has a .235 OBP and he's played in 63 games at first base. And the Brewers are continuing to trot him out there, despite a financial disincentive to do so. There are no words.
Incentives already reached: Unknown
Within reach: 150 games and 140 starts, which would max out his incentives.
Aoki's contract remains a remarkable bargain, as he's making about $2 million this season after hitting .288/.355/.433 in 151 games for the Brewers last season.
Cot's doesn't have the specifics on his incentives for this season, but they do note that he starts getting extra money at 75 appearances and 100 starts, maxing out at 150 appearances and 140 starts. If he starts 17 of the Brewers' final 19 games he'll max out both categories, netting him $837,500 extra for the season.
Incentives already reached: $50,000 for making the All Star Game.
Within reach: Uncertain
Cot's says that Gomez has "award bonuses" in his three-year, $24 million contract extension, including the aforementioned All Star appearance. It's not specifically stated, but I'd guess he also has one for winning a Gold Glove, and he's got a real chance to do that.
Two other Brewers fall into the "thanks for playing" category:
Incentives already reached: None
Likely out of reach: Bonuses for finishing 25, 30, 35, 40 and 50 games.
These incentives likely would only have been reachable if Gonzalez had been installed as the Brewers' closer at some point this season. Gonzalez has wrapped up just ten games at this point (the Brewers are 1-9 in those games), so unless he's the final pitcher used in 15 of the next 19, he won't get any extra money.
Weeks doesn't have any contract incentives that we know of but he does have something that could end up being more important: A club option for 2015 that becomes a vesting option if he makes 600 plate appearances in 2014 or 1200 combined between 2013-14. The option would pay him $11.5 million, so it's a pretty significant financial milestone. Weeks made 399 plate appearances this season before going on the shelf, so the fate of the vesting option will depend entirely on his ability to stay heatlhy and remain in the lineup next season.
Finally, here's one that may fall under the heading of "someone else's problem:"
Cot's says Axford had "performance bonuses" in his contract, but doesn't get any more specific than that. It's unclear who would pay those bonuses if he achieves them, since he's no longer with the Brewers.