Here's an explanation of Major League contracts:
- Teams can spread a player's signing bonus over a number of years if they sign him to a Major League deal.
- Players like Jacob Turner, Dustin Ackley and Stephen Strasburg, who sign Major League deals, must be placed on their teams' 40-man rosters immediately, even if they start their careers in the minors. This reduces flexibility for the player's team.
- Teams have to use options to assign players on Major League deals to the minors. While most of these players can get a fourth option, clubs risk running out of options. If a player runs out of options, he must clear waivers before his team can send him to the minors.
- Most draft picks will sign minor league contracts that cover a bonus and the first year of their minor league career.
All of the information on Major League deals comes from Keith Law's 2008 ESPN article.