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. 

 

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  • Eloy Jimenez grand slam tonight. Hoping Soler power returns and gets hot but future looks bright in the outfield regardless.

    Finished the night 4-5, with two doubles - 32(!) on the season - along with the grand slam. Sick

    Eric S 41 min 23 sec ago view
  • Meanwhile, out West:

    SF is 2-11 since the break, lead over LA is down to one game, and they are running out Cain and Peavy this weekend against the Nats. Challenging times by the Bay.

    billybucks 1 hour 28 min ago view
  • Thanks for the updates Phil. Too bad about Frazier.

    Hagsag 5 hours 23 min ago view
  • The Cubs have released RHRP Scott Frazier (2013 7th round dfraft pick - Pepperdine).

    A Cubs pitching coach told me in Spring Training 2014 that he thought Frazier had the best pure stuff in the organization. Absolutely electric fastball & breaking ball combo. Other pitchers would gather behind the screen just to watch him throw "live" BP. That's how amazing he was. 

    Arizona Phil 10 hours 32 min ago view
  • Got a chance to see Diamondbacks RHSP Zack Greinke (15-day DL - strained oblique) throw a rehab start at Sloan Park Friday night. Four of the first seven AZL Cubs hitters singled and the Cubs did score an unearned run in the bottom of the 1st inning, but then Greinke got serious and struck out five in a row.

    ZACK GREINKE: 3.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 5 K, 4/0 GO/AO, 49 pitches (34 strikes)

    Arizona Phil 10 hours 46 min ago view
  • Have fun - It may be good for Arrieta to be facing a team that doesn't know him as well as the NL teams. A nice shutout would do wonders for his confidence. He is confident in public but baseball is hard and he could use a boost, I'm sure.

    Old and Blue 15 hours 38 min ago view
  • Me too. I'll be at the game tomorrow and would love to see Good Arrieta.

    Brick 16 hours 2 min ago view
  • Last few games have been the April version of the Cubs that disappeared completely the past two months.
    Hope they can sustain it.

    blockhead25 16 hours 29 min ago view
  • Don't sell yourself short, Judge.

    Jackstraw 16 hours 56 min ago view
  • I love this team.

    Looks like Mother Nature is trying to call this fight.

    Rob Richardson 18 hours 24 min ago view
  • Hey! I remember this team!

    billybucks 18 hours 33 min ago view
  • The key for Heyward's offense: get early leads. Heard a stat on Mike & Mike on the way to work that his avg/power much better this year when the Cubs have the lead. And true to form he gets the two run dinger with Cubs winning 3-0 ...

    Eric S 19 hours 59 min ago view
  • I'm sorry - I was probably not looking at the correct line, or spot, or...who knows!

    I could blame it on the weed, but I stopped smoking many years ago.

    Fortunately, I can rely on the rest of you sober and astute folks to bring the correct info forth.

    The E-Man 20 hours 26 min ago view
  • Oh yeah! It just felt like one for some reason.

    Old and Blue 21 hours 32 min ago view
  • Agreed. I was not including Fowler or Heyward.

    I'm just not a fan of 2016 Coghlan.....

    Dusty Baylor 21 hours 39 min ago view
  • @Dusty Contreras if it's a Lester or Arrieta start. TLS is good PH too. You also forgot about Heyward, assume Fowler is CF.

    chitownmvp01 21 hours 40 min ago view