Duke Contract Puzzling


Zach Duke signed a one-year deal today Dejan tweets.   The deal was $4.3 million. 

And it had no performance bonuses.   This blows my mind.

Some players get hotel suites, round trip plane tickets.  The Bucs paid Aki more and he gets an interpreter.  Curiously Duke’s agent, Mark Pieper got nothing other than a fair contract for Duke. 

No drama.  No arbitration.    

But how much was left on the floor by Pieper?  And wouldn’t the Pirates want to provide an incentive for Duke to perform this year?  If it can’t be K/9, WHIP, BB/9…  HELL how about a bonus based on the amount of times Duke can connect with a swinging backfist when Manager John Russell attempts to pull him with a ten-run lead?

We took a look at Paul Maholm’s contract because he is a good comparision based on previous career results.   Surely, Maholm didn’t let the Bucs off the hook in his contract negotiations.  Bang.  He didn’t.  We saw some details on Cot’s Contract website  that we anticipated.

We saw a line that I thought Pieper would surely use when negotiating with the Bucs:

3 years/$14.5M (2009-11), plus 2012 club option

  • signed extension with Pittsburgh 1/30/09 (avoided arbitration, $3.8M-$2.65M)
  • $1.5M signing bonus
  • 09:$2M, 10:$4.5M, 11:$5.75M, 12:$9.75M club option ($0.75M buyout)
  • 2012 option may increase by $1.3M to $11.05M based on performance
  • award bonuses

The 2012 option may increase…….[read it again], it’s not huge, but   that is certainly something that would benefit both parties in the Bucs and Duke 2010 contact.  It’s another one year deal for Duke and the Bucs.   Why wouldn’t both sides want to motivate the other with a few performance clauses?   

A vanilla deal.  No sprinkles.  No specialty cone.  Hmmm….sure makes him appealing to other clubs.

I don’t get it.  Why would Duke who was in the power seat let the Pirates off the hook like this?


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Tags: Paul Maholm Zach Duke

  • http://pirateswfc.blogspot.com Brian

    I think performance incentives can only be games and innings pitched based, not K/9 and WHIP, as per collective bargaining rules. Maybe he preferred the up front payment as it is perceived that some players’ playing time is affected by game, at bat or inning bonuses.

    • http://rumbunter.com Shaftie

      Your right Brian. I was simply thinking the Bucs and Duke had an opportunity to do some unique things in the contract and didn’t do it. Points for starts- ala Oscar Villareal in 2007 with a kicker for 60 points? An injury clause? Heh, I am glad it’s a one year deal. It just puzzles me to think that Duke didn’t want those/couldn’t get those/or wasn’t offered those performance clauses (it appears.) Dude, that worries me even worse.

  • MarkInDallas

    There’s a very good likelihood that Zach Duke will be traded sometime this year. So I don’t think it’s going to make too much of a difference either way.

    • http://rumbunter.com Shaftie

      MarkInDallas. EXACTLY! Remember how potent Duke was during the first half of the 2009 season, going 8-8 with a 3.29 ERA and .260 BAA??? Wouldn’t the Bucs want to incentivize Duke to repeat those stats and not the second half when after the break he posted a 5.17 ERA and a .318 BAA

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  • MarkInDallas

    I think the whole thing came down to the Pirates didn’t want Duke to make as much as Maholm this year. Maholm signed his contract with an option year into free agency last off season, and Maholm is making 4.5M this year.

    Duke is clearly worth less than Maholm and they didn’t want Maholm to think he had made a mistake in signing the extension.

    With Duke coming down to 4.3M, they were happy with that, and didn’t want to fill the contract with incentives that might push it past 4.3M. If they tried to make the base pay much lower, he just wasn’t going to accept it.