Why an "Adopt A Minor Leaguer" Twitter Account is Completely Necessary - Part 2
Image courtesy of © John David Mercer-USA TODAY SportsAfter reading last week's article, if you’re still not with me on this then let’s think about those involved in the organization who pay the bills. Of course, we’re talking about the billionaire owners of these franchises who rely on the success of the minor league players to put butts in the seats when they make the major leagues. I’m going to use the Twins as an example not to push the “cheap Pohlads” belief but because, quite simply, this is a Twins website. To be clear, in this context all owners are being cheap.
According to Forbes, the Minnesota Twins had a revenue of $269 million in 2019 of which $151 million was dedicated to major league player expenses like salary, benefits, and bonuses. After taking out other expenses, the Twins ended with an operating income of $14 million before interest and taxes were taken out. We don’t know the net income (aka profit) so, working with only the numbers that we know, let's say we are going to pull additional monies from the operating income to increase the pay for minor leaguers.
Earlier I had suggested that minor league players are provided a livable, not exuberant, income which I am taking quite objectively. In this proposal, players will literally earn what is considered the cost of living for a single adult with no children in the county they work, as determined by the Economic Policy Institute. Outside of signing bonuses, there will be no subjectivity...something I think an MLB owner would appreciate. In this particular model, players aren’t necessarily paid according to the level they are at but strictly based on their estimated cost of living. Below you will find a couple of different tables using data from 2019, and it’s important to point out this wasn’t a perfect, exact science. Without calculating and prorating the salaries of hundreds of minor leaguers these totals present an approximation based on a couple hypotheticals that wouldn’t impact the bottom line a ton had they been calculated exactly:
- Teams have the maximum number of players on their active roster at all times
- Players are not promoted/demoted once they are assigned
Proposal #2: Pay players a livable wage, based on location, for the calendar year.
The third proposal is based on using the federal minimum wage as a threshold for a “livable” wage.
Proposal #3: Start rookie ball at the federal minimum wage with a 15% increase at each level for the calendar year
Obviously, the possibilities are endless when it comes to paying minor league players an appropriate wage, and, in my mind, the three proposals above would be the bare minimum for major league owners. I understand that under these proposals it is weird to think that a player for the GCL Twins is making more than a player on the Elizabethton Twins despite they're both rookie league teams, and that same player is making the same amount as an A+ player who is at a higher level. At the same time, my approach was meant to be completely objective. In an ideal, and subjective, world players are making a livable wage at a minimum while also getting an automatic raise for being promoted from one level to the next.
What would a fair minor league pay model look like to you?
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