BBWAA institutes Schilling Rule

Let's be clear on the Santana offer
Joba is right now

When Curt Schilling signed his recent one-year deal for 2008, one clause in particular garnered some attention. The Red Sox have to pay Schilling $1 million if he earns so much as one third-place Cy Young vote. With the cozy relationship between writers and players these days, more than a few writers were dismayed by this contract provision.

So today, in an effort to restore some semblance of objectivity in awards voting, the Baseball Writers Associate of America announced today that, starting in 2013, players with incentive clauses will be automatically disqualified from award voting. This ban covers regular season awards only and will not affect a player’s Hall of Fame chances.

“When we first started giving out these awards it was just to honor somebody. You got a trophy, there was no monetary reward that went with it,” BBWAA Secretary-Treasurer Jack O’Connell said to the Associated Press. “I honestly don’t think people vote with that in mind. But the attachment of a bonus to these awards creates a perception that we’re trying to make these guys rich.”

O’Connell specifically targeted Curt Schilling’s response to his incentive clause as one of the driving forces behind this ban. The Red Sox’s pitched made an off-hand comment about a kickback for a potential voter, and the red flags went up immediately. “The Schilling thing is disturbing because he doesn’t even have to win,” O’Connell said. “That’s something that none of us finds very funny.”

The rule won’t go into effect until 2013 so that players, agents and teams can adapt to it. Personally, I find that to be a rather flimsy excuse. While few players are under contract for 2013, why can’t the BBWAA just grandfather in the rule for next season? Anyone with incentive clauses in pre-existing contracts can still enjoy those benefits, but anyone negotiated a contract following the conclusion of the 2008 season is automatically ineligible. I can’t imagine it will take all that long to get used to this new rule.

Meanwhile, this is a clear-cut victory for those of us who have grown wary of the give-and-take between sportswriters and their subjects. I can’t imagine that the Players’ Association is too thrilled with this one, but as far as I can tell, they have no remedies.

Let's be clear on the Santana offer
Joba is right now
  • It’sMeSNITCHES!!!

    Good post.

    Glad you guys are covering this. Any Dave Zirin fans out there?

  • jscape2000

    The MLBPA ought to be thankful for this. Players can demand more money straight up, or have more performance bonuses (which are open to more players than the voting bonuses).

    As Peter Abreham pointed out, incentives can still be linked to the MLBPA or Sporting News awards, as well as all the online-All Star/ TYIB awards and honors.

  • RZG

    I’m happy to see this but how would the BBWAA have access to know which players have this type of clause even after 2013, will it be on the honor system?

    MLB and the Players’ Association won’t care if a clause like this is included since it’s not against the Agreement between the 2 groups and they’re not responsible for telling the BBWAA what’s included in an individual’s contract.

  • zack

    Don’t know where else to put this, but the campaign paid off:

    Joba is NEXT, FWIW

    • eric from morrisania

      It’s worth Jack squat, in case you were curious.

      In a related story, Homer Simpson was just awarded the C. Montgomery Burns Award for Outstanding Acheivement in the Field of Excellence.

  • Geno

    If only a rule could be instituted to shut Shilling up, we’d be in business.

  • eric from morrisania

    The rule doesn’t apply until 2013 because if they started it now, Schilling could probably sue the BBWAA for an injunction to stop them from altering their rules as it would harm him financially, and he’d probably win.

  • http://RiverAve.Blues Joseph M

    Sportwriters live by a double standard drifting from news reporters to news makers and back again. They essentially are covering themselves when they talk about the Hall of Fame vote, MVP vote, Cy Young vote etc.

    There was an idiot named Phil Pepe who covered the Yankees for many years, Pepe would not vote for a pitcher for MVP because the pitchers have the Cy Young award! How stupid is that! Where does it say in the rules for MVP consideration that pitchers shouldn’t be considered. He made up his own rule. This goes on all the time with these guys. Writers who won’t vote for a player for the Hall of Fame because the player was not cooperative with the press, this is objective. Writers who won’t vote for a certain Hall of Famer like Seaver or Aaron because no one should get 100% of the vote.

    What the players could do to defeat this proposal, every player negotiating a contract could have an MVP clause put in their contract.

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