No, no this isn’t about who wears a nice vest on their night out. With Opening Day less than 24 hours away, I think it’s time to talk about 2011 vesting options! Vesting options are incentives that are written into a player’s contract and if he accomplishes the task, the option vests and extra money is awarded. For example, Magglio Ordonez‘s injury last year hurt a little more for him as he lost out on a $15MM payday for not reaching a certain number of at-bats.

So what’s in store for this season as vesting options are concerned? Well, I’m going to predict that Mark Buehrle won’t be pitching in anything else but a White Sox uniform. Why is that? He has an option that if he’s trading at any point in the 2011 season, he gets an extra year at $15MM added to the end of his current contract, which ends at the end of this year.

Here’s one that is already over. Cards pitcher Adam Wainwright has a $9MM option for this season as long as he does not finish 2011 on the disabled list. Considering he’s out for the year, you can scratch this one off the list of possibilities.

Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez has a “set your sights incredibly high” option that could kick in this year. Ramirez will get an extra $16MM if he’s named MVP of the league or league championship series in the playoffs. It will also kick in should he be traded this season. The latter has a better chance of happening, but both are long shots.

Then you have the “this actually may happen” category leading off with Mets reliever Francisco Rodriguez. He will see a $17.5MM payday if he records 55 game finished this season AND the doctors deem him healthy at the end of the season. Are the Mets doctors looking at him for this test…?

“I’m in perfect health doctors.” – K-Rod
“Uh, we’ll be the judge of that and looks like your arm is fatigued. Guess you’re not 100 percent healthy after all. NO SOUP FOR YOU!”

Hopefully he’ll seek a second opinion. As for the games finished, K-Rod has recorded more than 55 GF five times in his career so he has a chance at this one.

And last but not least, the ol’ number of plate appearances to lock in a vesting option. This one always struck me as strange because if the team really wanted to limit your PA toward the end of the year, they could easily do it by giving the player more days off, pinch-hitting for them late in games. I could see teams do this if they were out of the pennant race late in the season, and there’s nothing a player could do about it. At any rate, here are two of these types in 2011:

Bobby Abreu‘s $9MM option vests if he reaches 433 PA this season. Abreu hasn’t had fewer than 590 PA since his rookie year, so barring a major injury Abreu will be getting this option. And why shouldn’t the Angels just keep spending money? Maybe Vernon Wells could donate the $9 mil to Abreu with his current salary.

And last up is Dodgers infielder Rafael Furcal, who will make about $10MM in 2011, but can trigger an insane $12MM option should he stay healthy to reach 600 PA. Of course, he’s only done this once in the past three years thanks to injuries. At age 33 with his recent rash of injuries, I just don’t see this one happening.

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