If you are new around here, then this may be an introduction to my takes on the pay for minor league baseball players. But for most of you, you’ve seen my takes on how ridiculous it is more than a few times. Teams were, and well, at this point, all of them but one are still paying wages that wouldn’t be allowable, by law, in most professions. But thanks to legal wiggle room, and literally bribing, err, sorry, lobbying congress, Major League Baseball teams got a law passed so they now only have to pay minimum wage with no overtime hours to minor leaguers. Guys do get more than that once they get past Low-A, but the pay scale is still embarrassing.

How embarrassing? Well, the Toronto Blue Jays are giving their minor leaguers a pay increase of more than 50%. The bad news is that you can argue that for the guys at the lowest levels, that still means they aren’t making a livable wage. We can argue over that part at a different time if you’d like. But the Blue Jays are taking a step here that no one else is. And it’s a big step in the right direction. Guys in Double-A and Triple-A will be getting paid actual amounts of money now for the Blue Jays. For the guys in A-ball and rookie ball, it will at least give them a little more breathing room than they have had in the past.

Here are estimates based on the minor league salary levels for the Blue Jays in 2019 according to this article published late on Sunday at The Athletic.

After a 40 per cent raise, a first-year Triple-A player will make roughly $3,050 per month or $15,250 for a five-month season. In Double-A, players will get 50 per cent boost to about $2,550 per month or $12,750 per season. Single-A players receive a 56 per cent raise to just less than $2,400 per month or a shade below $12,000 per season.

While I still believe they should do more – pay them year round so they don’t have to work as an UBER driver. Or a DOORDASH delivery guy. Emily Waldon wrote a fantastic article that was published Friday where she spoke with minor leaguers and Major Leaguers about some of the things have gone for them on their journey and how they have, and haven’t been able to make it work. It’s a rather depressing read at times, but very real, unfortunately.

The big question is: Will other teams follow the Blue Jays in raising pay for their minor leaguers? Right now, we don’t know. As I type this, we haven’t seen other teams make any statements. I didn’t get into Phoenix until Sunday evening. But I plan on trying to talk to people all week about this and see what I can find out about what people think, and hopefully try to talk to some people with the Reds specifically about their thoughts/plans/whatever on the issue.

12 Responses

  1. Amarillo

    I thought that teams weren’t allowed to increase pay for minor leaguers? Something about minor league wages being standardized between the 30 teams. I guess I must have heard incorrectly… Doug are there any roadblocks to doing this besides teams not wanting to?

  2. Simon Cowell

    No they will not. Blog writers will blame the owners and minor leaguers will blame the mlbpa for not wanting to share the wealth. And fans will continue to go watch because they could care less how little a person makes. They only care how much so they can blame poor performance on being wealthy.

  3. Wes

    Over 4 appearances, Castillo has now gave up 12 earned runs in 8.2 innings w 5 walks. Until he fixes whatever is out of whack- he’s gonna get shelled once the season starts.

    Reds have, according to mlb, a 17% chance to make the postseason these year. Put the 25 best players on the roster and 5 best in rotation and let’s see em compete! Been too long.

  4. Dave

    Has this been collusion Doug? Seems like if teams were acting on their own self interest, it would be an obvious competitive advantage to have your minor leaguers eating proper food and focused on baseball. Whether it’s a moral outrage or not, it seems like plain bad business to not invest in your players.

    • Simon Cowell

      who is going to complain? It is the MLBPA that benefits from lower minor leaguer pay. If minor leaguers and rookies are paid more then veterans would be released and paid less.

  5. Krozley

    It will be curious to see what signing bonuses look like for the Blue Jays in the upcoming draft. Will they cut bonuses for lower draft picks by, say, $10,000 because players will get more per season? That would be disappointing, but not surprising.

  6. Pokey Reese's Red Hot Bat

    Anything to be read into it being a Canadian franchise enacting the change?

    Are they protected by MLB’s lobbying of US Congress?

    • Doug Gray

      I don’t think so, but I’m also not a lawyer or anything, either. But since the teams they they all play on are in America, they are operating on the same level as the American teams.

      • Pokey Reese's Red Hot Bat

        I’m not a Canadian or US lawyer either, but I think one must assume Canadian employment law (including the Canadian minimum wage) will apply to any individual employed in Canada.

        I’m now intrigued as to whether Blue Jays players are employed in Canada or the US. Google suggests that they are paid in Canadian dollars.

        An easier question for you: are there any franchises other than the Blue Jays who have minor league teams in Canada? I can’t think of any off the top of my head.

  7. Big Ed

    Emily Walden’s article in the Athletic was outstanding. The payment of $20/day for extended spring training was a new one on me. The teams essentially stick them in a place like Lansing, Michigan with 2 days notice, and leave it completely up to the player to find a place to live, etc. Also, these guys are expected to pitch in for the “clubbie” to provide the meals, etc.; the guys who got bonuses will kick in extra to cover some of the more destitute players.

    At the low levels, the players said that they preferred unfurnished apartments, because it allowed them more room to put air mattresses on the floor and to split the rent more ways. Any guesses why athletes like Kyler Murray, who have options, don’t opt for baseball?

    I hope that every team will follow suit, and then some, including with food, lodging and logistical support. The guys are young and chasing a dream, but MLB and the Reds can afford to ensure that they at least eat properly and have a fighting chance to get a good night’s sleep.