Retention Bonus (Article XX(B) Free Agents)

Definition

If a club signs an Article XX(B) free agent to a Minor League contract between a period after the conclusion of the World Series and 10 days before the start of the next season, it must decide by noon ET five days before Opening Day whether it will add the player to its 25-man roster or MLB disabled list at the outset of the season.

If the club does not agree in writing to add the player to its Opening Day 25-man roster or MLB disabled list, it must either grant the player his immediate unconditional release or agree to pay the player a retention bonus of $100,000 (to be paid on or before April 15 of the upcoming season).

Players paid the retention bonus can request to be granted their unconditional release on June 1 if they are not added to the 25-man roster or MLB disabled list by then. This request must be submitted in writing no later than 2 p.m. ET on May 28.

To qualify for this rule, a player must have at least six years of MLB service time and have finished the previous season on a club's 40-man roster or 60-day disabled list.

Example

Brandon Morrow signed a Minor League contract with the Dodgers on Jan. 25, 2017. The right-hander didn't make the club's Opening Day roster, but he was given a $100,000 retention bonus and began the 2017 season with Triple-A Oklahoma City. The Dodgers purchased Morrow's contract from the Minors on May 29, 2017, sent the veteran back down June 10 and recalled him June 21. Morrow then spent the rest of the season with the Dodgers and became a key member of the club's bullpen before signing a two-year MLB deal with the Cubs in December 2017.