When the Dodgers signed Noah Syndergaard to a one-year contract on Wednesday, it was reported as being for $13 million with $1.5 million in possible incentives. On Friday morning, we got the details on those incentives. As expected, they’re all based on innings pitched.
Noah Syndergaard contract details, per source:
$13 million for 2023, with a $500K bonus for topping 130, 150 and 170 innings pitched.
— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) December 16, 2022
Contract incentives are often based on playing time (innings pitched for pitchers, plate appearances for hitters) because the rules prohibit bonuses based on statistical achievement. So you can’t get a bonus for winning 20 game or for hitting 40 homers or for batting .300, but you can get a bonus for how much you played or for getting votes for postseason awards.
With Syndergaard’s bonuses, they line up well with the value he could provide to the Dodgers. If he pitches 130 innings, he will have done what they hoped and they’ll gladly pay him the extra $500K. If he gets to 170 innings, they will see the $1.5 million bonus as an absolute bargain, because 170 innings would mean he was healthy all season and pitching into at least the sixth inning with regularity, which is more than you can really hope for from your fifth starter.
Syndergaard threw 134.2 innings in 2022, so the first incentive level is well within his reach. In 2019, his final year before Tommy John surgery, he threw 197.2 innings, although they weren’t particularly good innings (4.28 ERA, 96 ERA+). But the Dodgers would absolutely take 170 innings of league-average production, even if they’re hoping some of Thor’s potential shines through and the performance far exceeds league average.
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