|Lopez's contract comes with added attention|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 30 April 2007 13:35|
SEATTLE (AP) -Jose Lopez's new, $6.07 million, four-year contract with the Seattle Mariners, a deal that could net him almost $13.7 million over five seasons, comes with watchful eyes attached.|
Lopez's agreement includes a $4.5 million club option for 2011 with a $250,000 buyout and has escalators that will raise his salaries if he is arbitration-eligible after this year, which is likely if he stays in the major leagues the entire season.
The 23-year-old, an All-Star last year, also has unusual provisions that should motivate the pudgy infielder to stay in shape.
Beyond the usual award bonuses, Lopez could earn another $125,000 annually by passing four, in-season tests: body-fat percentage, a 60-yard sprint, a 20-yard shuttle run and a vertical jump.
Each time he passes one of those tests, he would receive $25,000. If he passes all four in the same season, he gets another $25,000, That's a $625,000 incentive to stay fit over five years for Lopez, who is thickly built and listed at 6 feet and 200 pounds.
Clause providing bonuses to stay in shape are rare in major league contracts but not unprecedented.
Mariners general manager Bill Bavasi declined to comment on the contract Monday, an off day for the team.
Seattle signed Lopez in 2000, when he was a 16-year-old from Anzoategui, Venezuela, and before last season the Mariners ordered him to lose weight. Then they brought in Fernando Vina to challenge him in 2006's spring training for the second base job.
Lopez responded by not only beating out Vina, but by leading AL second basemen with 79 RBIs and eight triples. Eight of his 10 home runs came in the first two months of last season. Lopez still often wears a workout shirt with the logo from last July's showcase in Pittsburgh underneath his uniform.
``That's a big moment for me, my first All-Star game,'' Lopez said in spring training, explaining his undershirt.
His contract would pay him $50,000 if he is elected to another one, $25,000 if he is selected as a reserve.
Lopez is batting .323 with three home runs and eight RBIs this season.
If he is arbitration-eligible after this season, has 650 plate appearances annually, earns those physical test bonuses and Seattle exercises its 2011 option, the deal would be worth $13,645,000 over five seasons.
That's comparable to the $13.75 million, four-year extension through 2011 that shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt agreed to at the beginning of April.
Lopez's contract calls for him to get $420,000 this season, $500,000 next year, $1.6 million in 2009 and $2.3 million in 2010.
But if he is arbitration eligible each year and has 500 or more plate appearances in each preceding season, his base salaries would be $1.4 million in 2008, $2 million in 2009 and $2.75 million in 2010, with the price of the option rising to $5 million In addition, if he has 500 or more plate appearances this season and is arbitration eligible next year, his 2008 base would be $1.5 million.
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