MLB, union agree to restrict contract clauses

MLB, union agree to restrict contract clauses

MLB, union agree to restrict contract clauses
BOSTON -- Major League Baseball and the Players Association have come to an agreement that the 30 teams will no longer be able to offer personal service contracts or special milestone bonus clauses in future player contracts, MLB's top labor official said on Friday.

The two sides decided to eliminate those negotiating chips in the wake of recent deals in which Albert Pujols signed with the Angels for 10 years at $240 million and Ryan Zimmerman extended his contract with the Nationals for six years at $100 million. Both include the options of personal service agreements that can kick in after their playing days are over.

"There were a series of discussion with the MLBPA about the kind of milestone agreements that are in Alex Rodriguez's contract and then post-career employment contracts," said Rob Manfred, MLB's executive vice president of labor relations and human resources, who was in town for Friday's 100th Fenway Park birthday celebration. "We were all of the mind that they raise some Basic Agreement issues. We decided to make a clear rule and deal with them once and for all."

Rodriguez is scheduled to receive bonuses of $6 million each if he reaches future milestone homers on the all-time list and equals and passes the record. Next up is Willie Mays at 660, Babe Ruth at 714, Hank Aaron at 755 and Barry Bonds at 762. What is called a "merchandising agreement" is worth as much as $30 million above the guaranteed money in his 10-year, $275 million contract with the Yankees that lasts through the 2017 season.

A-Rod hit his 631st homer on Friday to pass Ken Griffey Jr. into fifth place on the all-time list. But he didn't have a payout for that milestone.

The owners and union finished negotiating a new five-year Basic Agreement this past year that will extend through the 2016 season. Since then, there have been ongoing discussions regarding contract language like this, but Manfred said there will soon be a printed copy of the new contract. The old one expired this past December.

The Pujols, Zimmerman and A-Rod contracts will all be grandfathered in and will not be affected by the change in the rules. Remaining unaffected in the future for all players will be bonuses based on such things as All-Star appearances and annual awards both for the regular season and postseason, Manfred said.

Manfred added that this has been an issue on the table between the parties for years. It pre-dated last year's collective bargaining negotiations and violated a clause in the Basic Agreement that restricts bonuses based on statistical achievement. Pujols also had a marketing clause in his contract that would pay him $3 million if he reaches 3,000 hits and $7 million if he breaks Bonds' home run record. Pujols went into action on Friday with 2,089 hits and 445 homers.

Pujols can exercise an option for a 10-year, $10 million personal services contract once he retires as an active player, and Zimmerman has the same option at five years, $10 million.

Michael Weiner, executive director of the players' union, also confirmed that the sides had come to an agreement on the rule changes. "Both clauses raise questions under the Basic Agreement, and both parties felt they should not be a subject of individual negotiations," Weiner told ESPN.

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.