Brian Roberts and the New York Yankees have completed their one-year, $2 million US contract, a deal that allows the second baseman to earn $4.6 million if he becomes a regular starter.
The contract was agreed to on Dec. 17 and finalized Tuesday, three days after a spot on the 40-man roster opened when third baseman Alex Rodriguez was suspended for the season for violations of baseball's drug agreement and labour contract.
The 36-year-old Roberts, an all-star in 2005 and 2007, is an option to replace Robinson Cano, who signed with Seattle. Roberts, who had spent his entire 13-year major league career with Baltimore, has not played a full season since 2009 because of injuries. He hit .249 in 77 games last years with eight homers and 39 runs batted in.
In addition to his base salary, Roberts can earn $2.6 million in performance bonuses based on plate appearances: $175,000 each for 250 and 300; $250,000 apiece for 350 and 400; $300,000 each for 450 and 500; $350,000 for 550; and $400,000 apiece for 600 and 650.
Roberts raises the Yankees' luxury-tax payroll to about $165 million, including benefits, the exact amount is uncertain pending a determination on how Rodriguez will be accounted for. A-Rod originally was listed at $27.5 million, but arbitrator Fredric Horowitz ruled the suspension will cost him 162/183rds of his $25 million salary this year, which comes to $22,131,148.
The Yankees hope to be under the $189 million tax threshold this year.