Unlike the Pujols abomination of a contract, this deal is a great deal for both Wainwright and the St. Louis Cardinals to make, and should quell any anger about Wainwright’s resigning.
Relief appearance incentives
+ $500K for 35 relief appearances
+ $500K for 40 relief appearances
+ $500K for 45 relief appearances
+ $500K for 50 relief appearances
+ $500K for 55 relief appearances
+ $500K for 60 relief appearances
Total relief appearance incentive: $3M
As I mentioned, inconsistent performance is far more scrutinized in the bullpen, so Wainwright would really have to ‘earn’ these incentives. The consistency of relief appearances is far more up in the air because of the there are far more bodies that can fill the role of a reliever than a starter.
The St. Louis Cardinals bullpen could certainly use some consistent help, and Wainwright will get paid if he can provide it. This will also allow him to make a solid amount of money quickly as soon as he reaches a certain threshold, yet it isn’t too quick to the point where if the first incentive is triggered, it’s difficult to stop the rest of them from triggering without benching him outright.
Overall, it feels like a relatively balanced system, but there is a bit less of a reason for Wainwright to try and relieve based on the difference in money between the two incentives. John Mozeliak and the St. Louis Cardinals management tried to pad this with the final list of incentives, so while it isn’t perfect, it is still a very fair system for both sides.