The Miami Marlins completed the Jon Rauch signing today with a peculiar roster bonus clause that perfectly fits the team's current state as a rebuilding ball club without much need of a veteran reliever. As reported by Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, Rauch can receive incentives of up to $0.75 million in "roster bonuses" associated with staying on the Marlins' 25-man roster.
In addition to $1 million base fig, Rauch to receive bonus increments of $250,000 for 90, 120 and 150 days on active roster. #marlins— clarkspencer (@clarkspencer) February 6, 2013
Of course the Marlins would offer such an incentive plan for Rauch. For one thing, the team itself controls Rauch's destiny to a degree, as staying on the active roster of the Marlins implies that you are still a member of the organization. This is relevant with the Fish because there is a non-zero chance the Marlins simply trade Rauch away before his some of his roster bonuses kick in. Given that Rauch is a former closer, at least in a part-time sense, it would not surprise anyone to see the Fish send him off well before he completes 120 days, or approximately four months, with the team, especially if he gets off to a hot start.
This roster bonus only further motivates the Marlins to make a move and ensure that Rauch does not end the season with the Fish. Of course, that implies that Rauch is good enough to stay on the major league roster by merit, and he is not exactly a spring chicken at age 34. Still, it is far more likely that some team during the stretch run makes a move for a minor piece like Rauch before the July 31 trade deadline and thus relieves the Fish of the potential additional $0.5 million that they would unnecessarily owe him. In fact, this makes trading Rauch a relative priority in terms of midseason moves; there is no reason the Marlins should be paying a mediocre 34-year-old soft-tossing righty close to $1.8 million in one season.