Most people know that players on teams who play in the postseason receive bonuses for their extra effort. For players with fewer than three years of MLB experience, a World Series bonus can be over 100% of their base salary. For a highly paid veteran, it can be less than 5% of their base salary.
There are three factors that determine the actual amount of money paid to any individual player: 1) the size of the bonus pool; 2) their team's success in the post-season; and, 3) the share of the pool assigned to the individual player.
How the Bonus Pool is determined
There is a separate pool for each series – the Division Series, the League Championship Series, and the World Series. The player’s bonus pool is funded with 60% of the gate receipts for each series. The value of the gate is determined by the size of the venues, the amount of high-priced premium seating in the venues, the number of games played in the series and whether or not the games sell out. Ticket prices for each series are set by MLB, not the home teams, so they are relatively uniform across baseball.
How much the winner and loser receives from each pool
The World Series winner gets 36%, the World Series loser gets 24%, both League Championship Series losers get 12%, and both Division Series losers get 3%. In addition, the four second place teams that do not win the Wild Card receive 1% of the pool.
How the team’s share of the pool is divided
The player shares are voted upon by the 25 roster players during the regular season in a meeting chaired by their union representative. This meeting follows the trade deadline on July 31st. Players who have not been with the team for a full season may be granted a full share, less than a full share or no share as a result of the vote. Non-players, such as trainers, may be granted full or partial shares. The pool of money is split according to the shares determined in the vote. There is no limit to the number of shares that may be granted, but a greater number of shares dilutes the amount each player is awarded.
Just to give a sense of the amount of money a particular player might receive, members of the St. Louis Cardinals received over $362,000 for winning the World Series in 2006. Not too shabby!