8:48 Neal has another update, reporting that Ayala’s contract is indeed guaranteed. Ayala will get the previously-reported $1.3MM base salary, along with $250K of appearance incentives. $50K for 50 appearance, and then another $50K for every five games after that – up to 70 games.
Ayala also has bonuses for finishing games, which would require an injury to All-Star closer Joe Nathan. He also has bonuses for making the All-Star team, winning ALCS or World Series MVP honors, or finishing in the Top 3 of the Rolaids Relief Award.
Aside from his appearance incentives, none seem plausible. Nothing further on Cruz or Cordero in this update.
9:52am: La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune learned that newly-signed reliever Luis Ayala does not have a guaranteed contract:
The Twins can cut Ayala up until 16 days before Opening Day and be on the hook for just 1/6th of his $1.3MM salary [about $217K]. If they cut him 15 days from the first pitch on in, they are on the hook for about 1/4th of the salary [$325K]. The Twins have a little protection if Ayala doesn’t have a good spring.
That’s good to hear, because Ayala wasn’t really deserving of a guaranteed contract based on his ’08 and the current market. Neal also has more on Juan Cruz:
If Cruz is moved as part of a sign and trade deal, Arizona is out a first-round pick and sandwhich round pick as compensation. That should influence the types of players the D’Backs would want in return for Cruz. It also stands to reason that several teams, and not just the Twins, would be in on Cruz if draft picks aren’t a factor. But there are indications that Arizona can’t just sit back and demand a lot for Cruz. Cruz is making noises about sitting out until after the June draft, so Arizona would get nothing for compensation once Cruz signs with a club. So there’s motivation on their part to get something in return for him. The Twins have made a call to the league office to check on the change in the sign-and-trade rules. If they haven’t already been informed of the changes they should know today.
Sitting out is Cruz’s only leverage…is he bluffing? A bit more on the relief front: Neal was unable to confirm that the Twins attended Chad Cordero’s audition yesterday.