International Signing Bonus Pool

There is a maximum limit on the aggregate amount of money each MLB club can pay as signing bonuses to international first-year players before penalties begin to accrue.

Each MLB club is assigned an International Signing Bonus Pool (ISBP) for each International Signing Period (ISP). A club’s ISBP is based upon the club’s winning percentage from the previous season. (Clubs that finish with lower winning percentages will receive a larger ISBP than clubs with higher winning percentages, with the ISBP increasing inverse to the previous season’s standings). In the case of two clubs finishing with the same winning percentage the previous season, league standings from two seasons back will be used to break the tie. If the clubs are still tied, league standings from three seasons back, four seasons back, etc, will be used to break the tie.

The Cubs ISBP for the 2016-17 ISP is $2,063,100 (it was $3,230,700 in the 2015-16 ISP), and because the Cubs exceeded their 2015-16 ISBP by more than 15%, they will not be allowed to sign any international free-agent subject to ISBP signing bonus limits to a contract with a signing bonus in excess of $300K in both the 2016-17 and 2017-18 ISP.    

A club's ISBP consists of four separate "Signing Bonus Values" (SBV) plus an additional $700,000. Each SBV corresponds to a particular "slot," and each slot is assigned a specific cash value (TBA prior to the start of the ISP).  

A Signing Bonus Value (SBV) can be traded, but with some restrictions:

1. An SBV can only be traded during the International Signing Period (ISP) to which the SBV was assigned (July 2nd through June 15th of the following year);

2. An SBV cannot be sold for cash. However, cash can be exchanged if it is used to offset the salary or salaries of a player or players acquired in return for the SBV;

3. An SBV cannot be substituted for a "Player to Be Named Later" (PTBNL);

4. The entire SBV must be assigned to the other club when it is traded;

5. A club may not acquire an SBV in a trade if the club has already paid signing bonuses equal to or in excess of its ISBP;

6. Once acquired, an SBV can be traded ("flipped") to a third club, as long as the third club has not already paid signing bonuses equal to or in excess of its ISBP;

7. A club's originally assigned ISBP can be increased by a maximum of 50%. If a club acquires an SBV in a trade that causes the club's ISBP to increase to an amount that is more than 50% above the club's originally-assigned ISBP, the portion of the SBV that caused the club's ISBP to increase to an amount that is more than 50% above the club's originally-assigned ISBP is subtracted from the SBV. 

A signing bonus paid to a first-year international player age 23 or older who has spent all or part of at least five seasons playing in an MLB-recognized foreign professional or "major" league does not count against the club’s ISBP. (A signing bonus paid to a first-year Cuban international player age 23 or older who has spent all or part of at least three seasons playing in Serie Nacional does not count against the club’s 2013-14 ISBP, then beginning with the 2014-15 ISP, a signing bonus paid to a first-year Cuban international player age 23 or older who has spent all or part of at least five seasons playing in Serie Nacional does not count against the club’s ISBP).

Also, a club’s six highest signing bonuses of $50,000 or less and ALL signing bonuses of $7,500 or less that are paid to first-year international players do not count against the club’s ISBP. (Beginning in July 2014, only signing bonuses of $10,000 or less that are paid to first-year international players will not count against a club’s ISBP).

The penalty for a club paying signing bonuses in excess of its ISBP is a tax (no draft picks are forfeited) and a restriction on bonuses that can be paid to international players during the next ISP:

1. A club that pays signing bonuses that exceed its ISBP by 5% or less must pay a 75% tax on the ISBP overage, but there are no restrictions on bonuses in the next ISP.

2. A club that pays signing bonuses that exceed its ISBP by 5-10% must pay a 75% tax on the ISBP overage, and is permitted to sign only one international first-year player to a bonus of $500K or more in the next ISP.

3. A club that pays signing bonuses that exceed its 2013-14 ISBP by 10-15% must pay a 100% tax on the overage, and is prohibited from paying a bonus in excess of $500K to any international first-year player in the 2014-15 ISP; then beginning with the 2014-15 ISBP, a club that pays signing bonuses that exceed its ISBP by 10-15% must pay a 100% tax on the ISBP overage, and no player may be signed to a bonus of $300K or more in the next ISP. 

4. A club that pays signing bonuses that exceed its 2013-14 ISBP by 15%+ must pay a 100% tax on the overage, and is prohibited from paying a bonus in excess of $250K to any international first-year player in the 2014-15 ISP; then beginning with the 2014-15 ISBP, a club that pays signing bonuses that exceed its ISBP by 15%+ must pay a 100% tax on the ISBP overage, and no player may be signed to a bonus of $300K or more in the next two ISPs. 

Money collected from the tax on clubs that exceed their ISBP will be used to further the development of international baseball.  

A player subject to ISBP restrictions cannot be signed to a Major League contract. 

 

Recent comments

Subscribe to Recent comments
The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • btw...Thanks AZ Phil. I'm really enjoying your take on this trade.

    Cubster 16 min 5 sec ago view
  • I'm a bit disappointed on the Warren experience. Essentially they gave Castro away for crickets (OK, well they signed Zobrist with the Castro salary dump). Otherwise one might look at it as Chapman for Castro and our #1 minors prospect (Torres) + McKinney/Crawford. Seems pricey for a 2 month rental. We will see if this price tag is that steep in a relative way based on the remaining deadline deals for relievers.

    Cubster 16 min 33 sec ago view
  • Yep. One of the great things about this team (in addition to being really good at baseball) was the "likable" factor. Feels a bit different now. Who knows...maybe Chapman will be the king of the dance parties.

    billybucks 25 min 22 sec ago view
  • Here are some possible corresponding minor league moves we might see in the aftermath  of the Chapman trade: 

    SOUTH BEND to MYRTLE BEACH: OF Donnie Dewees and INF Bryant Flete  

    EUGENE to SOUTH BEND: OF Robert Garcia and INF Vimael Machin 

    There is really no reason to replace Billy McKinney at Tennessee because both Chris Coghlan and Jorge Soler are doing their rehab at Tennessee.  

    And there are plenty of pitchers at Iowa. No need to replace Warren at AAA. .  

    Arizona Phil 45 min 32 sec ago view
  • I am 70 years old. The Cubs last played in the World Series in 1945. I was born in 1946. I hate to lose a prospect like Torres, but when the opportunity is there to get that World Series ring, you go for it. This was the idea in stock piling all this young talent. I would like to see Reddick added now and the Cubbies should be done.

    Hagsag 1 hour 15 min ago view
  • I would expect Richard to accept an optional assignment because based on how he's played this season, there is a decent chance that he won't find work elsewhere. Rather stay and potentially get a ring. Same goes for Coghlan since he's struggled mightily this year.

    Edwards should not go down. He's pitched very well and Maddon is very impressed with him. I would expect Grimm to go down for Cahill so he can get back on track (he's pitched better in July, but he's not getting enough appearances).

    chitownmvp01 1 hour 19 min ago view
  • chitownmvp01: Indeed Clayton Richard would seem to be odd man out once Chapman reports, but Richard might accept a minor league assignment if he is promised a return to Chicago on 9/1 when MLB Active List rosters expand (Richard has minor league ioptions left).

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 22 min ago view
  • The only player in the deal that would cause me a second thought is Gleyber Torres.

    McKinney and Crawford are decent prospects but both are redundant/replaceable in the system and Warren was really only a middle-reliever or #6 starter, so to me it's really just Torres for Chapman.

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 42 min ago view
  • There is no Comp pick for players traded mid-season. 2+ months of Chapman is it.

    mbauer 1 hour 45 min ago view
  • to get one of the best you have to give up one/some of your best...but it's a bit painful to watch the system's best prospect walk for any 2-3 month rental, especially one that's not an everyday player.

    crunch 1 hour 47 min ago view
  • I assume Chapman will replace Richard on the roster, but who goes down when Cahill gets activated? Maybe Grimm?

    And when Soler and Coghlan get healthy, how do they fit them on the roster when they're ready to be activated?

    chitownmvp01 1 hour 50 min ago view
  • We are giving up a lot, but it's not like we're trading Addison Russell for 2+ months of Jason Hammel. When impact players become available, they are going to cost you. The other bids could also have been high.

    Having Chapman as a rental is potentially less disruptive than having him come in with an extension in place. 

    CTSteve 1 hour 52 min ago view
  • Billy McKinney had season-ending knee surgery last August and came to Minor League Camp this year somewhat restricted. (He was used mostly as a DH in Cactus League Minor League Camp games), and I'm not sure he's 100% right now (he's repeating AA, and his XBH numbers are way down, like he's not getting good rotation in his lowev half). That might have been part of the reason why the trade wasn't completed right away.

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 59 min ago view
  • Rashad Crawford was a basketball star in HS (he was known as "Baby Jordan", and baseball was only his second sport) and he has plus-speed and athleticism, so when the Cubs drafted him (Keith Lockhart was the scout)  he was seen as a long-term project.  

    I was at Fitch Park the day that Rashad Crawford became a LH hitter, He waa never a switch-hitter, He went directly from being a RH hitter to a LH hitter, which I had never seen before. 

    Arizona Phil 2 hours 7 min ago view
  • I'm with Rob G and Johann here. It's not about Chapman as a pitcher. I just don't want to have to block out a real problem (the domestic violence) in order to try to enjoy the frivolous ball and stick game.

    Charlie 2 hours 15 min ago view
  • ROB G & BOB R: You're right. The QO can only be extended if the player spends the entire previous season with one club, so only the Yankees could have offered one to Chapman (if he wasn't traded). If an Article XX-B FA is traded during the season, the new club can't offer a QO. .

    Arizona Phil 2 hours 16 min ago view