The Mets are bringing back right-handed reliever Brad Brach on a one-year, $850,000 deal with a $1.25 million player option for 2021, as The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal first reported Friday. Brach is owed $500,000 by the Cubs in 2020, so he’ll earn a guaranteed $1.35 million next season, likely contributing to his willingness to accept such a low base salary from the Mets:
Free-agent RHP Brad Brach signs with #Mets, one year, $850K with a player option for $1.25M in 2021, sources tell The Athletic. Brach still owed $500K by #Cubs for 2020, so actually will earn total of $1.35M next season.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 6, 2019
As Rosenthal tweets, Brach’s contract is heavily incentive-laden: He’ll earn $100,000 each for 50, 55, 60, and 65 games pitched in 2020, while his base salary for 2021 will increase to $1.375 million if he pitches in 20 games. He’ll add an additional $350,000 to that amount if and when he reaches 30, 35, 40, 50, 60, and 65-game milestones, meaning that his base salary for ‘21 could max out at $3.475 million. In addition, he has the opportunity to earn $100,000 each for 50, 55, 60, 65, and 70 games, so the deal could theoretically max out at $5.225 million over two years.
The 33-year-old Brach was one of the most highly-regarded relievers in baseball for a pretty long while, posting a 2.99 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP over four-and-a-half seasons with the Orioles during the middle part of this decade. He’s been an interesting case over the past two seasons, as he’s been bad before the trade deadline (with the Orioles in 2018, then with the Cubs last season) before changing clubs and finding success during the season’s final two months (first with the Braves, then with the Mets). Brach posted a 6.13 ERA and a 1.77 WHIP over 42 appearances for the Cubs in 2019, but he seemed to settle into a groove (albeit over a small sample size) with the Mets, throwing for a 3.68 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP while striking out 15 and walking three over 14.2 innings.