Curt Schilling and the Red Sox finalized a one-year, $8 million contract today.
According to Schilling, who first posted the confirmation on his web site, the deal includes a possible $6 million in incentives in addition to his $8 million base salary: $2 million in weight incentives (based on six weigh-ins), $3 million based on innings pitched, and $1 million if he receives even a single Cy Young vote.
“How we project him for next year… we thought $8 million was a reasonable number,” Red Sox GM Theo Epstein told the Globe’s Nick Cafardo. “If there’s a downside or things don’t go well next year than $8 million seems reasonable under that scenario. If everything goes right, if he gets himself in great shape and pitches the whole season, then we’re comfortable with the higher number (up to $14 million) which is why the contract is structured that way.”
Schilling, who made $13 million in 2007, added that the weight clause was added by him, not the Red Sox. According to the Cafardo, Schilling’s weigh-ins will be very difficult to make. He would have to really be in outstanding shape to make all six weigh-ins and earn the $2 million extra, according to a source familiar with the contract.
“I inserted the weigh in clause in the second round of offers, counter offers,” Schilling wrote. “Given the mistakes I made last winter and into spring training I needed to show them I recognized that, and understood the importance of it. Being overweight and out of shape are two different things. I also was completely broad sided by the fact that your body doesn’t act/react the same way as you get older. Even after being told that for the first 39 years of my life. Now I can’t get on Dougie [Mirabelli] anymore, which sucks, and I am sure the clause will add 15-100 more jokes to Tito’s Schilling joke book.”
Schilling will get a $375,000 bonus for pitching 130 innings, and an additional $375,000 for every 10-inning increment up to 200.
The final step of the deal, according to Schilling, was an MRI, which he said took this morning and passed.
Schilling wrote that he thought he could have earned more money and gotten a longer deal elsewhere.
“Did I ‘leave’ money on the table, yes. Could I have gotten another year? I think so,” he wrote. “In talking with my advisor Ed Hayes, assessing the market place and current free agent crop as well as existing contracts. Looking at the teams that called, my best guess would be around $14-15 million for a 1 year deal with the potential to get 25-30 for a two year deal.”
Schilling did, however, say that money played a role in his decision.
“Saying it’s not ‘about the money’ is a lie too,” he wrote. “Both sides have a price, at some number I was not a viable option for the Red Sox, and at another number the Sox might have become a non-contender to us, but we both wanted this to happen and it did.”
Schilling, who turns 41 on Nov. 14, went 9-8 with a 3.87 ERA in the regular season. In the postseason, the veteran righty went 3-0 in four starts, with a 3.00 ERA, improving his career postseason won-loss mark to 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA.
“Bottom line is Mr. Henry, Mr. Werner, Mr. Lucchino, Theo, Tito [Francona] and John [Farrell]wanted me to come back, and I wanted to be back,” Schilling wrote. “So it’s all good.”
With Schilling back in the fold, the Red Sox starting rotation for 2008 appears set with Josh Beckett, Schilling, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, and Tim Wakefield competing for the five starting slots.
The return of Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell was also a factor for Schilling when deciding where to pitch in 2008.
“John Farrell is a huge part of the equation, not just for me either,” Schilling wrote in an e-mail on Friday. “He’s as good as anyone I’ve ever worked with and probably the most over qualified pitching coach in the world … While I would claim we are very close friends, he was always my coach first, which is something I desperately need at this point in my career.”