Whether a player is drafted out of high school in baseball, playing in the MLB takes a lot of dedication through the minor system. The journey may be quicker some than others, and most will not make it as there are many defining factors. Those who get drafted early may get the luxury of a large signing bonus, but those drafted in the later rounds must grind through the system.
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Minor League Salary over the years
When the 2021 season, minor leaguers throughout the league received a long-awaited pay raise It was part of the league’s structure revealed. During the pandemic, a lot of minor leaguers were released from their clubs as there was no minor league season. This was a tough time for many as some went back to school to pursue other careers.
As there were calls for improved playing conditions and higher compensation, the MLB has made it their mission to take a big step towards helping the athletes. Restructuring the league had a big effect on the geological alignment. Minor leaguers take buses unlike those who make it to the major leagues that have the comfort of taking planes when playing across the country.
Each franchise signed a Professional Development League contract as an agreement to build a stern foundation for better facilities, working conditions, and other benefits for both players and staff. High/Low-A, weekly minimum pay rises went from $290 to $500, for Double-A, the minimum was raised from $350 to $600, and finally triple-A, minimum weekly pay went from $502 to $700. That means most players make less than $15,000 a year, and will not receive a paycheck until the next season starts.
As the pay went up a small amount, this wasn’t enough as players still struggled. Players do not get paid all year round, and do receive compensation for making the playoffs. Players in the minors tend to get part-time jobs, give lessons, and train in the offseason before heading to instructional camp, spring training, or extended camp. There were still many improvements that needed to be made.
Not having an ideal living environment can affect physically and mentally. Focusing on just improving their craft has been hard for many players who are or have gone through the process.
Minor League Housing System
In the upcoming 2022 season, the league will require all 30 franchises to provide housing for all minor league players. As of this moment, it is not clear whether teams will provide stipends for the players to help cover living expenses or teams will set up housing at specific locations.
Players in the minor leagues especially would get a small apartment and share it with other teammates as it is difficult to rent a place for one player. Minor leaguers are more likely to be dealt as part of trades, getting cut, and moving up and down the system due to an injury or promotion as the season progresses.
“MLB is engaged in a multi-year effort to modernize the minor league system and better assist players as they pursue their dreams of playing in the Major Leagues.” #MLB #MiLB #dealmaking https://t.co/CnFNKF8q69
— Jeremy M. Evans (@JeremyMEvansESQ) October 18, 2021
When on the road, players receive meal money per day which comes to around $20 a day. Even with low salaries, players still have to pay club dues and have to pay for rent when promoted or demoted throughout the minor leagues.
Some teams have already taken the initiative to help improve the environment for many minor league players. A league-wide mandate would change everything as standards will be placed throughout the league.
In an interview with ESPN, Harry Marino, the executive director of Advocates of Minor Leaguers, stated,” This is a historic victory for minor league baseball players…When we started talking to players this season about the difficulties they face, finding and paying for in-season housing was at the top of almost every player’s list. As a result, addressing that issue became our top priority.”