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Performance Incentives Hit Hard : Salaries: Fewer games because of the strike will mean thousands of dollars less for many players.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Orel Hershiser knew the players union would be negotiating baseball’s basic agreement this season, so he wasn’t counting on the incentives in his contract.

“I knew there was going to be a chance of a work stoppage, so you don’t budget for something you may not have,” Hershiser said. “It would be like budgeting to win the lottery.

The Dodgers rarely offer incentives, but Hershiser’s contract calls for $250,000 for each start from his 30th to 34th. With his 21 starts, plus the 10 more he probably would have made if the games were being played, Hershiser stands to lose $500,000 because of the strike. Any cushion Hershiser had to reach 30 games during the season was blown a month ago when he suffered a strained left side while warming up, causing him to sit out two starts.

“Historically, the players union has negotiated with the owners to have the incentives pro-rated,” said Dennis Gilbert, a Beverly Hills sports agent. “But if the players were worried about their contracts and their incentive programs, they wouldn’t be going on strike. There are other issues.”

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Here are some of the other players who will be affected if the season does not resume quickly:

--Steve Bedrosian of the Atlanta Braves is one relief appearance from the $100,000 bonus that comes with his 35th and six games away from another $100,000. His base salary of $750,000 increases $100,000 when he appears in his 35th, 40th, 45th and 50th games. He has been in 44 games this season.

--All starting pitcher Bret Saberhagen of the New York Mets needs is 32 2/3 innings to earn his first bonus of $100,000. His base salary is $3.529 million and he stands to lose $300,000 for not collecting incentives for pitching 210, 225 and 240 innings. He has pitched 177 1/3 innings.

--Harold Baines of the Baltimore Orioles could lose $300,000. He is 36 plate appearances (at-bats, walks, sacrifices etc.) from the $100,000 that comes with his 400th. He would also collect $100,000 for his 450th and 500th plate appearances. His base salary is $1.8 million.

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--Julio Franco of the Texas Rangers is five plate appearances from a $150,000 bonus. He has a base salary of $1 million and one incentive package based on plate appearances worth $1 million. He has already collected some of the incentives and would probably lose $450,000.

--Rene Arocha of the St. Louis Cardinals is two relief appearances from a $5,000 bonus and eight appearances away from another $5,000. Along with his base salary of $140,000, his incentives are based on a point system--two points for each start, one point for each relief appearance. He receives $5,000 each for 36, 42, 48, 54 and 60 points. He has 52.

--Reliever Dennis Eckersley of the Oakland Athletics is five appearances short of earning $50,000 for pitching in his 50th game. He is 20 appearances from another $50,000. With a base salary of $3.335 million, he is paid $50,000 each for appearing in 50 and 65 games.

--Charlie Hayes of the Colorado Rockies has already earned $25,000 for 450 plate appearances, but will lose another $25,000 if he doesn’t reach 550. He is paid a base of $3.050 million.

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--Reliever Greg Olson of the Atlanta Braves was a risky investment because he was coming off an elbow injury. So the Braves paid him a base salary of $500,000 and $1 million for appearing in his first game with an additional incentive package that could total $1.5 million. He is paid $25,000 for each game between one and 40 and $50,000 for each game he appears in from 51-60. He has been in 16 games.

--Oriole closer Lee Smith was signed to a base salary of $1.5 million and an incentive package worth another $800,000 based on appearances and games finished. He is nine appearances away from earning $112,000 and was on a pace to earn a total of $224,000. If he finishes six more games he would also earn an additional $100,000. He has 41 appearances and has finished 39 games.

--Pitcher John Smoltz, whom the Braves had considered putting in the bullpen, had a realistic chance to make an additional $150,000 based on starts and innings pitched. Besides his $3-million base, he is three starts and 33 1/3 innings away from a bonus of $50,000. He has pitched 134 2/3 innings.

--The Angels’ Chili Davis is 32 plate appearances away from earning $150,000 and Bo Jackson, who has an incentive package worth $1.2 million, is five games way from earning another $200,000 for playing in 80 games. He will be paid $200,000 for playing in 80, 90, 100, 110, 120 and 130 games.

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--Dave Winfield of the Minnesota Twins has one of the more interesting incentive contracts, based on home attendance. But it didn’t do him any good. With a salary of $2.25 million, Winfield can earn another $100,000 based on the team’s attendance if it draws 2.5 million and 2.7 million. However, the Twins, who have only drawn 1,398,565, would not have reached 2.5 million based on their average attendance of 23,704.


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