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At the MLB All-Star Game: Players with ASG Bonuses Should Be Compelled to Appear PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 11 July 2011 10:56
King Felix can't pitch, so Jon Lester was
selected. But, he's on the DL, so Rickey
Romero takes his place. Lester will still
receives a $50,000 bonus.

Phoenix – On Friday, I highlighted several players that on top of the bragging rights (and increased leverage the next time their contract is up for renewal), have substantial bonuses for being selected to this year’s All-Star Game

(see 15 MLB Player All-Star Game Bonuses)

But, that was Friday. Since then, several players selected have bowed out or have had to due to technicalities.

Because of the rule that makes Sunday’s starting pitchers ineligible to pitch on Tuesday, previously named All-Stars James Shields of the Tampa Bay Rays and Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers will be inactive for Tuesday’s Midsummer Classic.  Shields and Verlander are recognized as All-Stars with full honors, will attend the festivities and will be introduced before the All-Star Game.  Verlander and Shields both were Player Ballot-elected.  Thus, their replacements came via the Player Ballot.

When Cole Hamels of the Philadelphia Phillies threw his first pitch on Sunday, he was replaced on the N.L. roster by Kevin Correia.  Because Hamels was a player-elected All-Star, he was replaced by the next highest ranking pitcher on the Player Ballot. Both Hamels and his teammate Shane Victorino are enroute to Phoenix and will be at the All-Star Game, albeit, not playing.

But, there are other players that aren’t playing due to injuries, etc. The biggest of which is Derek Jeter, who is receiving a $500,000 bonus for being selected to the All-Star Game.

"Unfortunately I won't be able to go," Jeter said on Friday. "It's just a situation where after talking with Joe and Cash and Geno, it'd probably be best not to try to push it. Because it's most important to be ready for the second half. That's what my focus has to be at. It's unfortunate because I know you guys know how much I enjoy going to All-Star games. I love playing in All-Star games. Especially getting voted in by the fans, it's something I would like to do but I'll try to be smart about it. I know I can be stubborn a lot of times when it comes to injuries, but I'm going to try to be smart about it."

At the All-Star Game Tweetup last night here in Phoenix, myself, Eric Fisher of the SportsBusiness Journal, and Jim Duquette currently with MLB Network Radio and formerly the GM of the Mets and the Orioles discussed the topic.

All three of us were in agreement: if you are on the ballot and/or selected by managers or players, and receive a bonus, you should be compelled to go to the game, walk out and tip your hat when players are announced, and meet the press.

The bonus clauses, much of which have become boilerplate also cover bonuses for how a position player does in MVP voting or pitchers in Cy Young voting. Duquette felt that, after so many players had backed out this year’s All-Star Game, that clubs would begin taking a closer look at adding these clauses into contracts.

As a note, anyone listed as being part of the All-Star Game – be that a replacement, or selected outright, play or not – gets an All-Star Game bonus if they have negotiated it within their contract.

That gets into some wild scenarios. Try this: Felix Hernandez was player selected for the All-Star Game, but because he pitched on Sunday, he is ineligible. Thus, his replacement was to be the next highest ranking pitcher who was not already an All-Star, who was Jon Lester. But, because he is currently on the disabled list, Rickey Romero has been added to the roster and will be active for Tuesday’s game.

So… Jon Lester, who was announced as a replacement, but can’t play, will receive a $50,000 All-Star Game bonus.

All told, 84 players have now been selected (a new All-Star Game record). Of those, 16 have been deemed inactive due to injury or those pitchers that pitched on Sunday. As of now, they are (NL, then AL):

As Duquette, Fisher, and myself said on Sunday night, these players, who are getting a considerable amount of money for being selected to the All-Star Game, owe it to the fans, and maybe more importantly, their clubs, to attend. After all, these bonuses aren't chump change. Buck up, get on a plane, and make an appearance. At $25,000-$500,000 it’s the least these players should do.

And just think.... it's only Monday. Who knows if this list will change before tomorrow's first pitch?

Maury Brown will be reporting till Weds from the All-Star Game festivities

Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog.. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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