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Minor League Pay - Some Progress At Last?

Posted by SD Buhr , 17 March 2019 · 1,246 views

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.

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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.

  • brvama, Platoon and dbminn like this

Mar 18 2019 04:43 PM

I've got a piece on my site that came out today that discusses that even with this, not a single Toronto minor league player makes what would have been minimum wage in Toronto in 2018...and minimum wage went up .50/hour in 2019.