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.

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 2013-14 ISBP by 5% or less must pay a 75% tax on the ISBP overage, but there are no restrictions on bonuses in the 2014-15 ISP; a club that pays signing bonuses that exceed its 2014-15 ISBP by 5% or less must pay a 100% tax on the ISBP overage, but there are no restrictions on bonuses in the 2015-16 ISP.

2. A club that pays signing bonuses that exceed its 2013-14 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 2014-15 ISP; a club that pays signing bonuses that exceed its 2014-15 ISBP by 5-10% must pay a 100% tax on the ISBP overage, and no player may be signed to a bonus of $500K or more in the 2015-16 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; a club that pays signing bonuses that exceed its 2014-15 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 2015-16 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 next ISP; a club that pays signing bonuses that exceed its 2014-15 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 both the 2015-16 and 2016-17 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. 

 

X
  • Sign in with Twitter