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a vesting option involves players meeting certain standards in previous years and the benefits of meeting those standards.

For example, Cole Hamels has a vesting option of 24 million in 2019 if he meets the following standards

1.) 400 IP in 2017/18

2.) 200 IP in 2018

3.) Avoids the DL for shoulder/ elbow injury at the end of the 2018 season

If he meets these standards, Hamels will have the option to earn 24 million as a Philly, which he almost certainly would do.

In some cases clubs abuse the vesting option by preventing a player from reaching the standards in order to save money.

For example, Frank Thomas' vesting option with the Toronto Blue Jays required that he reach 1000 plate appearances from 2007-08. After 624 PA's in 2007, the Blue Jays released him in 2008 so they did not incur the 10 million dollar contract for '09. However, they still owed him 8 million in 2008 without his production, so many north of the border believe the Jays should've hung onto him. They could've been more shrewd and waited until he was closer to 1000 PA's before releasing him. Maybe they were trying to save face and not obviously screw him. Maybe something unrelated went on. The bottom line is that even though the vesting option belongs to the player, the club can still manipulate it so that the player doesn't reach its standards.

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Q: What is a vesting option in baseball?
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