Just days after a Major League Baseball lawyer said the league believes minor league players shouldn't be paid during spring training, the league is now reportedly trying to eliminate jobs for minor leaguers.
In its latest labor proposal to the MLB Players Association, the league has requested the ability to eliminate "hundreds" of MiLB playing jobs, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan. The league reportedly wants to reduce the number of players a team can have in the minors "below 150," Passan adds.
Passan later noted the MLBPA plans to formally reject the league's request, with the union having rejected previous offers.
The Domestic Reserve List currently allows teams to roster 180 players, according to Passan. MLB has proposed to keep that number the same in 2022 and reportedly "has no plans" to reduce the roster size in 2023 but could choose to increase or decrease the size after that, Passan adds.
Minor league baseball has already seen several changes over the last few years, including the implementation of the Domestic Reserve List. Before the list went into effect, teams were allowed to have as many players as they wanted under MiLB contracts.
According to Passan, five teams still have more than 180 minor league players on their Domestic Reserve List and only two teams have less than 150. Teams are allowed to have up to 190 MiLB players rostered during the offseason.
In addition to adjusting the size of the Domestic Reserve List, MLB also proposed a limit to the number of times a player can be returned to the minor leagues in one season to five, Passan reports.
"Currently, teams hold unlimited options on qualifying players within a single season, allowing the shuttling of some between Triple-A and the major leagues," Passan writes.
In the midst of these negotiations with the MLBPA, the league is currently being sued by Aaron Senne and thousands of other current and former minor league players in a class-action lawsuit for alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, "establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards affecting employees in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments."
MLB players were initially locked out on Dec. 2 after the CBA expired.