Mariners infielder Jose Lopez is a lucky guy - he just signed a four year, $6.07 million deal with the team, which could net him $13.7 million over five seasons with incentives. Some of these incentives are run-of-the-mill. He'll be rewarded if he makes the All-Star team, and he'll get even more if he's elected to start. There's also money to be earned should he reach 650 plate appearances in a given season. But Jose is a special guy, and has some special incentives involved.
Simply said, the 23-year-old is pudgy. And to help Jose keep the weight off, the Mariners have added some unique aspects to his contract.
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 Jose passes one of those tests, he'll net $25,000. If he is able to pass all four of these tests in a given year, he'll get another $25,000. In what is tantamount to a Major League Gym Class, Jose could be rewarded an extra $625,000 over the course of his contract just for staying in shape.
Isn't staying in good playing condition part of his job? Wouldn't Jose have some sense of pride that would cause him to stay in shape? Or the prospect of losing his job over eating a few too many chicken wings?
Maybe this isn't such a bad idea after all? Could our country solve its obesity problem by offering incentives to keep weight down and lead healthy lives? Maybe a tax break of some sort? It may not ever be a possibility, but if it works for Jose, it could work for America.