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Game Thread: Twins @ KC 5:15 PM PST (7:15 PM CDT) 06/20/2019

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:14 PM
Last night, the Twins...never mind, that's all in the past, let's look to the future, the Twins playing KC at Kauffman Stadium.   Wh...
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Non-Twins 2019 season news

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As the off-season is over, thought we might have this thread back for non-Twins, non-thread worthy news and tidbits.     Watchi...
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Article: BOS 9, MIN 4: The Red Sox Bats Were Poppen Tonight

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:08 PM
After a seventeen inning struggle the night before, the Minnesota Twins were hoping to take the rubber game of this three-game series aga...
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Article: Taking a Deeper Dive into Miguel Sano's Plat...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:03 PM
Roughly a week ago the discussion surrounding Miguel Sano was in relation to his strikeouts. Now operating at a 39.2% strikeout rate, the...
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Could Sano Be a Trade Chip?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 11:59 AM
Just wondering if the large strides forward made this season by guys like Polanco, Garver, Kepler & Buxton, might make Miguel Sano le...
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Minor League Pay: Some Progress at Last?

When the Cedar Rapids Kernels host the Lansing Lugnuts in a three-game series beginning July 13 of this summer, Lugnuts players will have one significant advantage over their counterparts in the home team dugout.

They’ll be getting paid more than 50% more than the Kernels players.
Image courtesy of © Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
It doesn’t mean the Jays’ farm hands necessarily win every contest against the Kernels on the field, nor will they be swimming in riches on their paydays, certainly, but it’s a baby step in the right direction and players in every organization can only hope it’s a trend that spreads across affiliated minor league baseball.

According to a story by The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Emily Waldon, Blue Jays executives told The Athletic that they are finalizing a plan to raise their minor leaguers’ pay by more than 50 percent across all levels from the Dominican Summer League through Triple A.

(The Athletic site has a paywall, but if there’s a single site that deserves your consideration for subscribing, it’s the Athletic, in my opinion.)

According to that article, Class A minimum salaries are rising from $1,100 to $1,160 per month this season, so players for Lansing, the Blue Jays’ Midwest League affiliate, will be north of $1,740, about $600 a month more than the Minnesota Twins are obligated to pay players assigned to Cedar Rapids.

Toronto vice president of baseball operations Ben Cherrington told The Athletic, “We hope that it allows our players to have the freedom and comfort to make some good choices, whether it’s where to live, where to eat, etc. We just feel like it’s consistent with our values of trying to be a player-centered organization and give them every resource possible to be at their best.”

We could debate whether $1,740 a month is enough money to provide much “freedom and comfort” but there’s no doubt it’s provides more of those things than $1,160 does.

Minor leaguers are not paid while attending spring training and extended spring training (MLB claims these are merely extended “try-outs”), receiving their meager pay only once assigned to an active minor league team’s roster.

A raise similar to what Toronto is offering would certainly benefit the Twins’ players in Cedar Rapids where players already benefit from a healthy and generous host-family program, which allows players to re-allocate money that would otherwise go toward rent.

Toronto’s move coincidentally (perhaps) came about roughly the same time that Waldon authored another article for which she interviewed over 30 people, many of them minor league players, concerning the plight of players trying to subsist on minor league pay.

The big question, now, is whether Toronto’s unilateral first volley on minor league pay will be answered by other MLB teams.

Certainly, there are 25 guys getting ready to fly to Cedar Rapids in April that hope so.

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25 Comments

I can't help but think that Toronto might be being pressured by their government. They probably do not get all the benefits of the Antitrust exemption that the other 29 teams get.

I can't help but think that Toronto might be being pressured by their government. They probably do not get all the benefits of the Antitrust exemption that the other 29 teams get.


I think employment laws are governed by the jurisdiction where the work takes place, not where the company is headquartered.
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mickeymental
Mar 18 2019 10:25 AM

hard to understand why, at the very least, mlb doesn't make sure minor-league players have access to healthy food.

    • Mike Sixel, blindeke and biswrest like this

hard to understand why, at the very least, mlb doesn't make sure minor-league players have access to healthy food.


Because they aren't human beings to them, just assets. And when you are a billionaire, it's important to make an extra five million a year.
    • railmarshalljon likes this

Because they aren't human beings to them, just assets. And when you are a billionaire, it's important to make an extra five million a year.

I think it's in their best interest to make sure their prospects are eating healthy.
But, saying it's inhumane for an employer not to feed their employees is a bit of hyperbole.
How many employers provide their employees three meals a day? Are there literally any?

I think it's in their best interest to make sure their prospects are eating healthy.
But, saying it's inhumane for an employer not to feed their employees is a bit of hyperbole.
How many employers provide their employees three meals a day? Are there literally any?


It's about pay. Not meals as pay. That should be obvious.
    • mickeymental likes this

It's about pay. Not meals as pay. That should be obvious.


Well you responded to a post about meals, not pay. So no, it wasn't obvious.

There are a lot of living expenses that are covered by the team/organization (and hosts). It's not as bad as the salary number, in itself, would suggest. Having said that, the salaries are too low...lower than the value they drive for the organization...lower than what is fair/sustainable for players that are making personal sacrifices into their mid, even upper 20's. It's all a result of gross under-representation in the collective bargaining process.

    • Riverbrian, TheLeviathan, ToddlerHarmon and 1 other like this
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Ex-Iowegian
Mar 18 2019 11:37 AM

A few years back, I had the opportunity to get a tour of the "players' Dormitory" on the back lot at the Ft Meyers complex. There is a rather large auditorium where they have team meetings, and off of that a large cafeteria / eating area and then a gathering room that had quite a bit of space for TVs and games and lounging. And the players rooms were in the several stories above that. 

The impressive part of that whole tour to me, was the cafeteria, where they have menus that are designed for players for certain dietary needs (there were several, maybe 3 or 4). They were color coded, so all a player had to do was to pick a food of the assigned color. I though that was a simple plan to get a decent diet in front of players from all over the world, so maybe they don't spend their money on junk food.

I never knew if the players are charged for that service, but at least the Twins are addressing some of this at this complex. That might make foran interesting article...

 

    • DocBauer and MN_ExPat like this

As a host mom for the past 3 seasons in Pensacola, I applaud the Blue Jays and agree that the Minor League players should be paid more. It's a good first step.

 

Our team here, Blue Wahoos (AA) were associated with the Cincinnati Reds since 2012 and the Reds did feed the team "healthy" catered meals 2x a day at the stadium. Sometimes it was food the players did not care for, but they were fed. I understand the Twins does the same thing. On the road they guys get a per diem.

However, I helped one of my kids do his taxed for the YEAR and he was only paid 6600.00. Also keep in mind they have to pay the "clubbie" for laundry, services, etc. and there goes $300/mo. out automatically.

In the case of Pensacola—a resort town during baseball season—there are few affordable rentals and even less when you consider the player has to find a landlord who will give them an employment clause, so when they do get sent up, traded, etc., the player's not in agua caliente—financially-speaking.

That being said, they do have very good health insurance—as they should.

Most of the young men we have housed have not received a big signing bonus, but they are passionate about the game and know if they are from VZ, DR etc they are better off than many of their countrymen. 

If you are near a minor league team and have a spare bedroom, contact your local team and help a kid out.

 

 

    • ashbury, Mike Sixel, pbrezeasap and 15 others like this

 

There are a lot of living expenses that are covered by the team/organization (and hosts). It's not as bad as the salary number, in itself, would suggest. Having said that, the salaries are too low...lower than the value they drive for the organization...lower than what is fair/sustainable for players that are making personal sacrifices into their mid, even upper 20's. It's all a result of gross under-representation in the collective bargaining process.

Excellent comment jkcarew.

 

The 50% increase is probably $500/mo at low-A and less in the rookie leagues and DSL.Hi-A and up may be a thousand a month or more.So the average is probably less than a thousand a month, say $1,000/mo including payroll taxes.With around 200 players on the seven rosters, that would be $200,000 per month or around a million bucks for the entire five month season.The Twins could easily eat that expense, or recover part by shaving a bit off the salaries of the guys making several million a year.   

    • ToddlerHarmon, MN_ExPat and jamisea like this
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biggentleben
Mar 18 2019 04:48 PM

I commented on the blog rather than on the article post, but I did bring together Emily's piece and Dirk Hayhurst's piece on the topic today on my site: https://videobasebal...ay-large-issue/

 

The basics...even if the Jays were on the high end of the AAA scale before, adding 50% to that still would not put them at a yearly wage equal to a year's income at minimum wage in Toronto ($11 in 2018, moving to $11.50 on April 1). With dictated offseason activities making an offseason job nearly impossible, players are rarely going to be able to find something to work with their workout schedule that they need to keep up all offseason.

    • Mike Sixel, Riverbrian and TheLeviathan like this

Bottomline, you have to win the genetics lottery in order to be drafted.  Once you've already won that lottery, what is it?  1 in every 33 make it to the pros?  Even when you're called up for a cup of coffee, you're still only making so many hundred a day, if even $200 a day.  Ask any minor leaguer NOT living off a signing bonus how $150-$200 a day sounds.  They'd light up. Everything is pro-rated off the league minimum.  Don't let that fool you.  Even a "cup of coffee", does not land anyone a big pay relief.

Minor leaguers are living out a dream.  Little did these boys know that their dream consisted of them being a financial pawn to billionaires.

Owners need to pony up and pay these guys.  I read that it would come out to be another $7 million a year to support their minor leaguers and pay them minimum wage (Rookie - AAA).  Suck it up and pay.  It's a shame owners have been getting away with it for so long.  I think so much less of them morally because of it.

 

 

    • jamisea likes this
We began this debate months ago, maybe even a year ago. One question I raised, which I never saw answered then, but seems to be answered with Toronto's move, is whether there was any restriction on what a parent club could pay their milb players.

The answer seems to be no.

I argued at the time, as an owner, it would highly intelligent, IMO, to pay more than most teams. In the billionaire game of baseball, raises salaries across the board in your milb system would cost very little. But it could provide dividends in the form of loyalty from your players, and those you'd make offers to to join your system when available. It would be beyond just a PR move.

While very few guys ever actually make it, or make it "big", or even to a mediocre level, they are the lifeblood of your organization. Why not pay them better and treat them better than organizations do?

Yes they get some per diem and get fed at home and on the road, but aren't all employees happier and more loyal if treated well?

I still think there is a lot of blame to the union for not taking a stand, seeming only to care about players once they make it, but the owners can make moves as well.

In a fantasy world, were I an owner, I'd really like to own as many of my franchises as I could, while partnering with the locals as they do now. Next, while team names and uniform colors would vary for the local franchise, whether I owned them or not, EVERYTHING from how we drill on down would be run the same way. And I would follow the Jays way of paying more to build my brand and loyalty as an organization who cares and believes in their "lifeblood".

Only makes good business to me to build your entire organization from the top down.
    • pbrezeasap, MN_ExPat and rdehring like this
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biggentleben
Mar 18 2019 08:24 PM
In all seriousness, Doc, I’d wager that the Blue Jays will have a lot better chance of bringing in a JuCo guy in the 26th round with upside rather than see him go to a four-year and turn into a first day pick.

It could also help them in a market they’re already making huge strides in, the second-tier Latin market. Once you get beyond the six figure guys that are obvious, oftentimes there are a few guys who get way more than you’d project simply because they were a $100K valuation that 4 teams liked, so they bid each other up over him. Below that six figure market are a whole lot of guys who end up mostly failing out, but often times are where you find the big upside, super low ceiling types. If they know you’re spending more along the way, you’ve got a big in-road there. That is a huge market.

I suggested that the Braves could counter their punishments by paying minor leaguers significantly more. Yes, they’d still be stuck to $10k max signings in 2019/2020, but you’d likely be able to get the cream of that crop.
    • pbrezeasap and rdehring like this

 

As a host mom for the past 3 seasons in Pensacola, I applaud the Blue Jays and agree that the Minor League players should be paid more. It's a good first step.

 

Our team here, Blue Wahoos (AA) were associated with the Cincinnati Reds since 2012 and the Reds did feed the team "healthy" catered meals 2x a day at the stadium. Sometimes it was food the players did not care for, but they were fed. I understand the Twins does the same thing. On the road they guys get a per diem.

However, I helped one of my kids do his taxed for the YEAR and he was only paid 6600.00. Also keep in mind they have to pay the "clubbie" for laundry, services, etc. and there goes $300/mo. out automatically.

In the case of Pensacola—a resort town during baseball season—there are few affordable rentals and even less when you consider the player has to find a landlord who will give them an employment clause, so when they do get sent up, traded, etc., the player's not in agua caliente—financially-speaking.

That being said, they do have very good health insurance—as they should.

Most of the young men we have housed have not received a big signing bonus, but they are passionate about the game and know if they are from VZ, DR etc they are better off than many of their countrymen. 

If you are near a minor league team and have a spare bedroom, contact your local team and help a kid out.

 

 

Thank you for doing what you do... you have a good soul and my full respect. I'd probably do the same thing. 

 

However... Damn it... It's a shame that anybody has to do this. 

    • Joe A. Preusser, MN_ExPat and jamisea like this

Beloit Snapper SS (Insert Name Here) can't sign with the Hartford Yard Goats. The Hartford Goats are weak at SS and wold love to have (Insert Name Here) but (Insert Name Here) was drafted by the Oakland A's and the A's control him until he is old enough to no longer be of value to the Hartford Yard Goats. 

 

But... if Beloit Snapper SS manages to make the Oakland A's roster sometime in the future. The Fan's will be right there to tear him apart if he hits under .200. 

 

    • Mike Sixel likes this

How many of you got paid to go to college?

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biggentleben
Mar 19 2019 08:54 AM

 

How many of you got paid to go to college?

 

I had some scholarships. Interestingly, the scholarships I had were most likely going to be similar to what a college baseball player had as well. Over 2/3 of all college baseball players in the Division 1 level receive the majority of their scholarship money from non-athletic sources.

    • pbrezeasap and MN_ExPat like this

In a related piece, Jeff Passan at ESPN is reporting that MLB is in negotiations with the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues (the minor league owners association) on a new basic agreement that will make, "sweeping changes to the minor leagues."

 

The current agreement, which expires after the 2020 season, dictates standards for ballparks, clubhouses, etc., and determines which expenses are the responsibility of the minor league affiliate vs. those the MLB affiliate must cover.

 

According to the article, significantly increased pay and care for minor leaguers is, indeed, being proposed. But it also sounds like MLB owners want minor league affiliates to bear some of that additional cost. 

 

So it's possible that the billionaires who coerced those local ownership groups into helping them lobby for passage of the law exempting them from minimum wage laws now may turn around and still threaten to cut the number of levels of minor league ball (and thus the number of teams) if the NAPBL doesn't agree for minor league affiliates to take on more of the financial burden.

 

Minor league owners in very few communities are making any money. Most are trying to break even while making necessary capital improvements to their facilities every year.

    • Mike Sixel and biggentleben like this

 

How many of you got paid to go to college?

 

What does this have to do with being employed by legal monopolies that are swimming in billions of revenue?

    • pbrezeasap and David HK like this

 

How many of you got paid to go to college?

 

I'm not sure I understand your comment, are you trying to say that minor league baseball is the equivalent to college for a normal college student and the players should be happy they are getting paid rather than paying for that minor league education? Because no one would pay to get a college diploma if they knew they had only a 10% or less chance of getting a good paying job when they graduated and no one was paying for a ticket/hot dog/beer to come watch me take my calculus exams.

    • Mike Sixel likes this

 

As a host mom for the past 3 seasons in Pensacola, I applaud the Blue Jays and agree that the Minor League players should be paid more. It's a good first step.

 

Our team here, Blue Wahoos (AA) were associated with the Cincinnati Reds since 2012 and the Reds did feed the team "healthy" catered meals 2x a day at the stadium. Sometimes it was food the players did not care for, but they were fed. I understand the Twins does the same thing. On the road they guys get a per diem.

However, I helped one of my kids do his taxed for the YEAR and he was only paid 6600.00. Also keep in mind they have to pay the "clubbie" for laundry, services, etc. and there goes $300/mo. out automatically.

In the case of Pensacola—a resort town during baseball season—there are few affordable rentals and even less when you consider the player has to find a landlord who will give them an employment clause, so when they do get sent up, traded, etc., the player's not in agua caliente—financially-speaking.

That being said, they do have very good health insurance—as they should.

Most of the young men we have housed have not received a big signing bonus, but they are passionate about the game and know if they are from VZ, DR etc they are better off than many of their countrymen. 

If you are near a minor league team and have a spare bedroom, contact your local team and help a kid out.

 

Folks like this who open their homes and hearts to these young struggling guys are true unsung heroes of the game. 

 

Kudos to you, Jamisea.

    • Mike Sixel and MN_ExPat like this
If they increased pay by 500 a month across all levels
500x30 players(playing all Injured players)=15,000
15,000x7 minor league teams=$105,000
105,000x6 months is 630,000 (some minor league seasons are shorter and some longer) In any case, a raise seems financially reasonable and even paying them something for spring training and extended spring training seems quite manageable financially.
    • Mike Sixel likes this

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