Incentives matter. It's one reason why bankers' and ballplayers' salaries are often loaded onto bonuses. In that vein, Mental Floss has an interesting rundown of the weirdest baseball contract clauses of the last twenty years. Some of them are real incentives. Others aren't. A $300 bonus to each Oakland A's player growing a mustache by Father's Day. A bulldozer for Houston Astros pitcher Roy Oswalt if he made it to the World Series. A $333,333 check for Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling for each weigh-in that didn't tip the scales.
But Ichiro Suzuki's has got to be the strangest clause:
The Seattle Mariners star outfielder signed a five-year contract extension in July 2007 that included, among other perks, four round-trip airline tickets to Japan each year and the services of an interpreter and trainer throughout the season. It also included a housing allowance for each year of the deal.
While the numbers themselves aren't eye-popping -- the allowance ranges from $32,000 to $36,000 a year over the life of the deal -- kudos to Ichiro for getting someone else to pay his rent.
Really, a housing allowance? Equal to 0.19% of his yearly salary?