Triple-A minimum wage is $700 per week during the season
LOS ANGELES — Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred has defended the sport’s treatment of minor leaguers, drawing immediate criticism from the players’ advocacy group.
“I kind of reject the premise of the question that minor league players don’t get a living wage,” Manfred told the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ahead of Tuesday’s All-Star Game.
“I think we’ve made real progress in recent years in terms of compensation for minor league players, even setting aside the signing bonuses that a lot of them have already received. They get housing, which is obviously another form of compensation.
MLB increased minimum wages in 2021, raising the Class-A salary from $290 to $500 a week, Double-A from $350 to $600, and Triple-A from $502 to $700 over a roughly five-month season. Players are only paid during the season.
Amateur players residing in the United States and Canada who are selected in this week’s amateur draft have slot values for their signing bonuses, which clubs use as guidelines, ranging from $8.8 million for the first pick at just under $150,000 for the final 10th and final round picks. MLB says it spends about $450 million each year on signing bonuses for first-year players.
last November, MLB announced it is requiring teams to provide furnished accommodations, with one single bed per player and no more than two players per room. Teams are responsible for basic utility bills.
“Most minor league baseball players work second jobs because their annual salary is insufficient to make ends meet,” Harry Marino, executive director of Advocates for Minor Leaguers, said in a statement responding to Manfred. “His suggestion that minor league pay is acceptable is both callous and wrong.”
Documents filed Friday in federal court revealed MLB agreed to pay $185 million to settle lawsuit filed by minor leaguers. MLB agreed in the agreement to rescind any bans on teams paying minor league player salaries outside of the season.
A first estimate is that perhaps 23,000 players could split the money with an average payout of $5,000 to $5,500, with $55.5 million going to players’ attorneys.
Senate Judiciary Committee leaders have asked Manfred to explain himself by next Tuesday. the impact of potential legislation removing the sport’s antitrust exemption from covering the sport’s relationship with minor league players.
While players with major league contracts are unionized, players with minor league contracts are not. The Major League Baseball Players Association donated $50,000 to Advocates for Minor Leaguers last November, according to a federal statement.
“It’s exciting to see the players recognize and appreciate the power of their collective voice to make positive changes in the things they experience day to day,” said union leader Tony Clark, a former first-team player purpose, to the BBWAA in a Q&A. session before that of Manfred. “Harry Marino and the Advocates for Minor Leaguers have done a tremendous job engaging and educating Minor Leaguers and helping them find their voice. … We are watching. We are providing support when and where possible.