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Cubs consider tweak in Chatwood's contract

Pitcher's Cy Young Award vote clause a topic of discussion at Winter Meetings
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Cubs may change a clause in Tyler Chatwood's contract to eliminate linking a financial reward to him receiving a Cy Young Award vote from the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Chatwood signed a three-year, $38 million contract last week with the Cubs. If he receives one vote for the Cy Young Award in either 2018 or '19, his 2020 salary will increase from $13 million to $15 million. One Cy Young Award vote in both seasons would boost his 2020 salary to $17 million.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Cubs may change a clause in Tyler Chatwood's contract to eliminate linking a financial reward to him receiving a Cy Young Award vote from the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Chatwood signed a three-year, $38 million contract last week with the Cubs. If he receives one vote for the Cy Young Award in either 2018 or '19, his 2020 salary will increase from $13 million to $15 million. One Cy Young Award vote in both seasons would boost his 2020 salary to $17 million.

During its meeting on Tuesday, the BBWAA was considering making Chatwood ineligible for the voting because of that clause in his contract.

"Looking at it from the team perspective, whenever there's a gap in evaluation between what the player wants and what the team wants to give, you want to try to find some qualitative way to assess a player's performance," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said Tuesday. "There are many things you can't do, and the leverage you have that are qualitative are All-Star and any awards at the end of the year."

Hoyer said it's difficult to find a measure to gauge the quality of performance.

"[Being an] All-Star is flawed because it's half a season," Hoyer said. "And there's a lot of them. There could be five injury replacements and you could be the sixth guy who's an All-Star. That's not the best measure of a guy's quality.

"Teams are in a box as to how you can do that, and we felt one Cy Young vote was a pretty good measure of quality," he said. "There's only five Cy Young votes [on the BBWAA ballot] -- [Most Valuable Player] is 10. In a typical year, seven to 10 guys get votes.

"Honestly, we did talk about it during the [negotiation] process, and I think there's a level of trust in the writers that writers take their votes seriously," he said. "People aren't going to throw a vote out there just to cost the Cubs money. People do take their votes seriously and their category seriously. That was our logic on it."

Video: Rogers on what Chatwood can bring to the Cubs

Major League Baseball did approve Chatwood's contract. Hoyer said he had talked to MLB officials regarding the contract and added that he hoped for a solution to come up with qualitative performance measures.

One possibility, he said, would be an All-MLB first, second and third team, and a team could add a clause in a player's contract to reward them if he makes one of those teams.

"I've talked to people, and I understand the argument on the other side and how it could be compromising the vote," Hoyer said. "We actually trusted the writers to not do that."

The last contract to include such a clause was Curt Schilling's deal with the Red Sox in 2007, which was overseen by Theo Epstein, who was the Red Sox general manager at the time and is now the Cubs' president of baseball operations.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Tyler Chatwood