NEW YORK – Team owners have agreed to begin housing some minor league players beginning in the 2022 season, the Major League Baseball office reported Sunday.
“In mid-September, the owners discussed the issue of housing for players and unanimously agreed to start covering the housing costs of certain minor league players,” MLB said in a statement to The Associated Press. “We are in the process of finalizing the details of said measure and we anticipate that it will be announced and take effect for the 2022 campaign.”
ESPN, citing anonymous sources, was the first to report the owners’ decision, noting that the league will require teams to begin providing housing, either with stipends to cover the full cost or by carrying out the housing work.
“This is a historic victory for minor league baseball players,” Harry Marino, executive director of the Advocates of Minor Leaguers and a former minor league player, told ESPN. “When we started talking to players this season about the difficulties they face, finding and paying for housing during the season was at the top of almost every player’s list. As a result, addressing that issue became our top priority. “.
The league did not specify which players would benefit from the new measure.
The measure is expected to reduce the financial burden on players, some of whom earn income from teams that are below the federal poverty line of $ 12,880.
MLB raised the minor league minimum wage for 2021, raising pay in Class A from $ 290 to $ 500 a week; in Double A from $ 350 to $ 600; and in Triple A from $ 502 to $ 700, during the five-month season. Players are only paid during the season.
“Most minor league players make less than $ 15,000 per year and they won’t get their next paycheck until April,” Marino said. “For the next six months, they will spend hours each day training, as required by the contract, while trying to balance the second and third jobs to make ends meet. Like hosting six players in a two-bedroom apartment, this is a failure. model of a bygone era. Minor league players will not rest until they receive the living annual salary they deserve. “
While teams are generally in charge of making hotels available during tours, players are largely adrift during home games. The level of assistance teams provide varies – sometimes junior affiliates are tasked with finding families to host some of the younger players, while some organizations have offered stipends for some or all of their players.
The total cost for a team to house all minor league players at home for a season, according to two executives whose teams had explored doing so before the league served its term, is less than $ 1 million.
Although the minor leagues are especially populated by small towns and lower rents, they also include some of the most expensive cities in the country, such as Brooklyn, the High Class A affiliate of the New York Mets, and San Jose, the Low Class A affiliate of the New York Mets. San Francisco Giants.
Several teams were arguing about following the lead of the Houston Astros, who this season covered housing for all of their minor leaguers at home and away. Other teams offered rooms or stipends at certain affiliates.
While the Major League Baseball Players Association does not represent minor league players, some of its rank and file members have shown public support for the causes championed by advocacy groups. Several players, including Andrew McCutchen of the Philadelphia Phillies, Trey Mancini of the Baltimore Orioles, Jason Heyward of the Chicago Cubs and Chris Taylor of the Los Angeles Dodgers, have worn a bracelet distributed by Advocates for Minor Leaguers that includes the inscription “#FairBall.”
Information from ESPN’s Jeff Passan was used in this report.