MLB Reportedly Considering Raising Minor League Salaries and More Changes

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 19, 2019

Hartford Yard Goats pitcher Yency Almonte throws the first official pitch at Hartford's new Dunkin' Donuts Park on opening day in Hartford, Conn., Thursday, April 13, 2017. The city and its minor league baseball team are celebrating opening day at the city’s new 6,000-seat stadium, a year late and millions of dollars over budget. (AP Photo/Pat Eaton-Robb)
Pat Eaton-Robb/Associated Press

Major League Baseball has reportedly suggested changes that would improve minor league playing conditions during a collective-bargaining session, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN.com.

The proposed changes include "a significant increase in salaries, a higher standard of living conditions and better transportation."

MLB explained the status of negotiations in a statement to ESPN:

"While each Club makes its own decisions regarding minor league salaries, the Office of the Commissioner is presently in negotiations with the National Association of Professional Baseball on the terms of a new agreement between the Major Leagues and the Minor Leagues to replace the agreement that expires in September 2020. The working conditions of minor league players, including their compensation, facilities and benefits, is an important area of discussion in those negotiations."

This comes after the Toronto Blue Jays announced their decision to raise minor league salaries by 50 percent, per Emily Waldon and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

Low salaries for minor league players have been a problem for years, with even Triple-A players only making $2,150 per month in their first season, per Passan. This also doesn't include clubhouse dues, and players aren't allowed to get any overtime pay because of a law passed in spring 2018 that prevents teams from paying above the federal $7.25 per hour minimum wage.

Even Toronto players will only receive $12,000 per year in Single-A after the recent changes.

These low salaries have created problems for individual players.

"I can't afford to play this game," an anonymous player in High-A told Waldon. "I put my body on the line and I work really, really hard and I show up early and I stay up late and I might have to end my dream, because I financially can't afford it."

Many players are also forced to take on extra jobs in the offseason to maintain a living wage.

However, the proposed changes could give players salary relief while also improving day-to-day conditions. Teams could be forced to meet minimum standards for clubhouses and training facilities, while extra off days could help with travel concerns while limiting overnight bus rides.

While negotiations are just getting underway, this could be the start of a meaningful system overhaul at the minor league level.