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Gavin Floyd and the conflict with his incentives

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Gavin Floyd has a lot of incentives to get on the mound as quickly as possible, but could that compromise the Braves plans for the latter half of the season?

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In reading the comment section on our post about David Hale being skipped, I came across a great post by cthabeerman. I remember writing about how incentive laden Gavin Floyd's deal is, but I had not looked at the figures since the deal was signed.

To detail, Gavin Floyd will get $675k for spending 60 days on the major league roster. Barring injury, he should be able to reach that incentive without a problem. The bigger issue comes with games started. He has incentives in his contract that would pay him $250k for each start from start 21 to 28. He also has incentives for games 30-33, but there is no possibility of those being reached.

The injuries the Braves battled early in the year caused them to scramble the rotation. David Hale and Alex Wood went from competing for spots to having more-or-less guaranteed roles coming out of spring training. Ervin Santana replaced Kris Medlen and Aaron Harang replaced Freddy Garcia. The concern was that the Braves had a lack of depth, but as expected a few weeks into the season and I am already seeing the "who goes down when Floyd is ready?" posts. Hale will be gone when Minor comes up, whether it be a bullpen assignment or move to triple-A, but Floyd is not far behind him and the Braves will have to figure out what to do with him.

The concern for me is that Floyd is ahead of the original anticipated schedule. Is he just healing much better than expected, or is he pushing himself to get on the mound as quickly as possible in order to reach those incentives? Obviously, the Braves medical team wouldn't allow him to simply decide how quickly he moves through the rehab process, but the Floyd camp has a lot to gain by him being on the mound sooner rather than later.

The next problem is that if the other five starters are performing well when Floyd is "ready" to come up, do they opt to move a pitcher out in favor of Floyd solely due to fear of the player's union coming after them? Incentive laden deals based on performance are one thing, but incentive laden deals based on playing time are a much different ballgame. Teams can and have manipulated playing time in the past to the dismay of the union, and I am sure the Braves would rather avoid any such issues. Ideally, Floyd could remain in triple-A and strengthen his arm as much as possible until he is needed, but with a major league contract and incentives that will pay him for getting on the mound quickly, it puts the Braves in a rather difficult spot.

Aaron Harang could be removed or Alex Wood could be put into the bullpen, but will that make the Braves a better team? Will Floyd pushing himself into the rotation as quickly as possible increase the chances of re-injury and compromise the Braves rotation plans? There is a lot to consider in this scenario.

In the end, I imagine this situation will work itself out like it almost always does. I have concerns, solely because I am a worrier at heart, about this process being expedited for the wrong reasons. I hope Floyd gets all of his incentives because that would mean he has pitched well, but I also hope the Braves are not worse off if they are to let Floyd and his camp have a bigger say than most do in the rehab process.