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Standard Minor League Contract

This is the standard contract that most minor leagers sign when entering into the minor leagues. The contract has to be approved by Major League Baseball and has specific language for the signing bonus amount, Incentive Bonus Plan and College Scholarship Plan, that can not be changed or it will not be approved by Major League Baseball.

The drafting team under Rule 4 (E) of the Professional Baseball Agreement must make a formal standard minor league contract offer to every draft pick within 15 days of selection in the amateur baseball draft. In 1996, 6 players were granted free agency after their drafting club did not submitting a written contract within 15 days time and were free to sign with any team they wished.

  • The standard minor league contract can be exercised or renewed at the original signing teams discretion for a period of six years. Players who have not been placed on the teams 40 man roster after 6 years can file for free agency and can then sign with any teams they chose. Players can ask for a release at any time, but the MLB team doesn't not have to grant it.

  • The minor league contract provides roundtrip coach airfare at the beginning and end of the season for every minor league player.

  • Teams are allowed to terminate the minor league contract and cancel all financial arrangements within the first 30 days of the contract should the player have had a previously undisclosed injury when signing the contract. In 1996, the Texas Rangers voided 1st round draft pick R.A. Dickey's signing bonus of $810,000 after a physical discovered Dickey was missing an ulnal collateral ligament in his elbow. Dickey later signed for a $80,000 signing bonus. Many teams will wave this clause by a pre-signing physical by the MLB team's physican.

  • The signing bonus must be paid in full by December 31 of the calendar year following the signing of the minor league contract. The contract must be submitted to Major league Baseball Office of Commissioner for approval. Payment of signing bonus can not be made until it gets MLB Office of Commissioner's approval. Most teams start making signing bonus payments after September 1.

  • Players who has a written college scholarship offer in another sport like football or basketball can have his payments of his signing bonus spread out over a five-year period as part of a contractual guarantee than he limit or exclude his participation in that other sport. 1998 1st round draft pick Corey Patterson was able to spead his bonus payments over a five year period because a football scholarship offer to University of Georgia.

  • The first year salary for a minor league player is $1,100 a month.

  • Agents often negotiate "side letters" to the standard minor league contract such as automatic call up dates to the major leagues, waviers to the 30 day medical clause, transportation for the player's parents, and invites to instructional league and major league spring training.

  • Some MLB teams will provide minor league players with a pair of shoes and glove upon signing.

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