For starters, Garza will receive $12.5 million per season from 2014-17, with $2 million per season deferred without interest. Cot's Contracts says four annual payments of $2 million will be due to Garza on December 15 from 2018-21. Since Garza is effectively giving the Brewers an interest-free loan, the overall present-day value of the contract is likely significantly less than the reported $50 million value. Financial deferrals like this aren't unusual for the Brewers: Kyle Lohse, Aramis Ramirez and Ryan Braun all have similar clauses in their contracts, with Braun's paying him all the way through 2031.
Garza also has incentives in the deal that will pay him $500,000 each if he passes 30 starts or 190 innings each season. He would not have reached those incentives in either 2012 or 2013, but would have cleared both in each of the three seasons prior to that.
Finally, the deal includes a vesting option that could be worth $13 million for 2018. It vests if Garza:
- Makes at least 110 starts (27.5 per season) in the first four years of the contract,
- Pitches at least 115 innings in 2017, and
- Does not finish the 2017 season on the disabled list.
This is relatively similar to the 2015 vesting option in Rickie Weeks' contract.
If the option does not vest it becomes a club option. Here's Sherman's tweet on it:
Garza has complex 5th-yr '18 option: It's #Brewers opt at $5M, but becomes $1M if he spends 130 DL days in 183-pd for various injuries (con)— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) January 28, 2014
If I'm reading that right, the Brewers have the option of bringing Garza back for $5 million if his option doesn't vest, or $1 million if he spends 130 days on the DL in 2017. There's presumably a buyout if the Brewers opt not to do so, but that's not included here.
By my count, maxing out the incentives, vesting the option and counting deferred money as present-day dollars, this deal could have a maximum value of $67 million, which matches what Jim Bowden of ESPN reported earlier this week.