Minor League Roster Rules
1. An MLB club can automatically renew a minor league player's contract no more than six times, so a club can unilaterally control a minor league player (that is, a player not on an MLB 40-man roster) for no more than seven minor league seasons. For purposes of determining eligibility to be a free-agent, a player does not accrue a minor league season if the player spends the entire season on an MLB Active List, MLB Disabled List(s), and/or other MLB Inactive List, or if the player spends an entire season on the Restricted List, Disqualified List, Suspended List, Ineligible List, Voluntarily Retired List, and/or Military List. Also, participation in a post-season instructional league, Arizona Fall League, and/or winter league do not count toward a minor league season.
2. A free-agent with prior MLB and/or minor league service who signs a minor league contract must be added to a minor league Reserve List within 15 days, and is not eligible to play in a game until he is added to his minor league team's Reserve List and Active List.
3. With the approval of the MLB Commissioner, a club may assign (loan) a player signed to a minor league contract to the Active List of a minor league club in another organization. However, the player must be returned no later than September 30th.
4. With the consent of the player and the club, a player who has not previously signed an MLB or minor league contract may be "Signed for Future Service" (contract is for the following season) if the player signs a minor league contract after July 1st and is not placed on a minor league club's Active List prior to the conclusion of the Minor League season. (Attendance at a post-season Instructional League and/or participation in Instructional League games do not count).
5. A player who was eligible for selection in the First-Year Player Draft (MLB Rule 4 Draft) who signs a minor league contract after being selected in the previous Rule 4 Draft or as a Non-Drafted Free-Agent (NDFA) and who is not "Signed for Future Service" must be added to a minor league club's Active List within 15 days or when he plays in his first game (whichever comes first), but the player does not count against the minor league club's Reserve List until MLB and Minor League reserve lists are filed in November. The player cannot be released until he spends at least 15 days on a minor league active list.
6. An international player who has not previously signed an MLB or minor league contract MUST be "Signed for Future Service" (contract is for the following season) if the player signs a minor league contract after July 1st and the player does not turn 17 before September 1st or until after the conclusion of the regular season of the minor league club to which the player is assigned (whichever is later).
7. A player who is "Signed for Future Service" does not count against a minor league club's Active List or Reserve List until Opening Day of the following season.
8. A player who is "Signed for Future Service" cannot be released until he receives a 15-day trial in Spring Training.