The Twins Should Just Give Phil Hughes the Extra $500,000
In his last start of the season, Phil Hughes came out early as a result of a long rain delay. As a result, he is currently at 209.2 innings pitched this season, one out away from a $500,000 bonus, he would have earned upon pitching 210 innings this year.
Today, Hughes said he didn’t think it would be right to pitch a third of an inning in the last game of the season to earn the bonus, even though manager Ron Gardenhire has been quoted as saying he’s willing to let Hughes pitch again to earn the bonus. Hughes’ attitude is refreshing, but frankly a little niave.
Hughes has earned the bonus. He gave the Twins everything they were paying for when they signed him to a three-year deal, and the Twins agreed to the $500,000 bonus, because they knew they’d be getting their monies’ worth if he pitched 210 innings. In fact, Hughes was one of the Twins’ few bright spots in what was otherwise yet another disappointing season in the Twin Cities.
The Twins should just give Hughes the $500,000. It’s the right thing to do, more so that Hughes’ refusal to pitch a third of an inning in the season’s final game. In the scheme of MLB salaries, $500,000 isn’t that much, and it would buy the team good will with players throughout baseball worth every bit as much as the 500 grand.
The players well know which organizations treat players fairly, and it can help the team sign players later if they have to decide between multiple teams making similar offers. You can take the approach the Miami Marlins take, holding on to every dollar like grim death, but it makes it harder to win consistently over the long run.
Speaking of the Marlins, the loss of Giancarlo Stanton for the remainder of the season earlier this month must have been particularly disappointing for Marlins fans. The Marlins franchise is a hard one to root for, given the fact that it is owned by a notoriously rich greed-head. Stanton was one of the few things that gave Marlins fans a reason to pay MLB prices to see the team play, particularly after Jose Fernandez blew out his elbow tendon this spring.
Reports are that the Marlins plan to make Stanton a big contract offer this off-season. However, that wouldn’t convince me they aren’t still the cheapest team in MLB. Players of Stanton’s skill and youth are almost always the best big contract bets for teams even if they do cost the most. I half wonder whether Mike Trout hasn’t already paid off in full on the $144 million extension the Angels just game him.