Other free-agent pitchers have had to deal with similar circumstances. While CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Derek Lowe and Ryan Dempster were indeed able to command multiyear deals at substantial dollars commiserate with their recent performances, others have had to rely on one-year incentive-laden contracts.Andy Pettitte, after making $16 million each of the past two seasons, turned down $10.5 million from the Yankees, then settled for $5.5 million in base salary. He can earn another $6.5 million in incentives based on both innings pitched and time on the 25-man active roster. The gamble was taking less base to make more through incentives. "I think time will tell," Pettitte's agent, Randy Hendricks, said at the time of the signing. "If in fact Andy does in 2009 what he's done before, he'll actually make more money, so in that case, we'll have no regrets. If things go wrong, we might be in a position to say we should have taken the left fork in the road." Randy Johnson went from a two-year, $26 million deal with the D-backs in 2007-08 to a one-year deal with the Giants worth $8 million plus another $2.5 million in incentives based on innings pitched and games started. Johnson also gets a $1 million bonus if he wins the Cy Young Award and another $500,000 if he is traded during the season. Mike Hampton, another pitcher with a long medical history, took $2 million in base salary and $2 million in incentives based on innings pitched from the Astros, plus $1 million for winning the Cy Young, $500,000 if he is the World Series MVP and $250,000 if he is the Comeback Player of the Year. There are plenty of ways to bridge gaps. Troy Glaus once received $250,000 a year for his wife's equestrian training. Burnett, in his previous deal with the Blue Jays, got eight round trips per year in a limousine for his wife to go from Maryland to Toronto during the season. Sheets' last contract with the Brewers included use of a suite for home games at Miller Park. But he also spent $50,000 per year for tickets for local children to attend games. Contracts are rarely uncomplicated. Sheets' next deal -- whether with the Rangers or another team -- will be no exception to the rule.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.