If you’ve been around the RedsMinorLeagues.com community for any period of time you’ve probably seen ten or more of my articles/rants about how Major League Baseball hasn’t exactly taken care of the players in the farm systems with regards to pay. Before baseball shut things down, it was announced that starting in 2021 that pay raises were coming across the minors – essentially giving a 50% raise on average, though just how much that will be depends on the level at which someone plays – and it only applies to those on their first contract. Players who have reached free agency get to negotiate their own deals.

But, with baseball shutting things down – minor league players are really feeling it. While they do get small amounts of money during spring training for per diem, depending on the organization it was about $25-40 per day. With baseball being shut down, they wouldn’t even see that – and the last time they got a check for playing baseball was at the end of August. We’ve seen several more “support a minor league player” operations pop up in the last few weeks. Emma Baccellieri of Sports Illustrated highlighted the “Adopt a Minor Leaguer” program that was started by a fan who was just looking to help out this spring.

Emily Waldon of Baseball America and The Athletic has been working to not only raise money, but also to put players in touch with local businesses who are looking for workers in their home towns – and has worked with others to build a website that should be going live this week to try and make the process easier to handle.

Garrett Broshius, who has been leading the fight for better pay and benefits for minor leaguers for years – and has been behind several of the court cases you’ve probably heard about over the last few years – has teamed up with former Major Leaguer Ty Kelly, former minor leaguers Matt Pare and Raul Jacobson (soon to be law-school graduate), and an anonymous former Major Leaguer to create the Advocates for Minor Leaguers coalition. Here’s their statement in their “our fight” section:

Advocates for Minor Leaguers is a coalition of current and former players, wives and partners, family and fans rallying behind a common mission: Providing a voice for minor league players and improving working conditions.

This is also a statement in their “about us” section:

Advocates for Minor Leaguers is a nonprofit founded by former minor leaguers Garrett Broshuis, Ty Kelly, Matt Paré, Raul Jacobson, along with others, to provide a collective voice for minor league baseball players. Garrett, Ty, Matt, and Raul came together because they all experienced the extreme lack of pay, the long hours and bus rides, and the physical grind that defines minor league baseball, and because they all want to improve these exploitative working conditions for current and future minor leaguers. To meet their common goal, they formed Advocates for Minor Leaguers, the first organization in baseball history with the express purpose of advocating for minor league labor rights, and educating the public about the struggles that minor leaguers face.

If you’re looking to help out any minor leaguers right now, in a time where at least for right now, there’s no plan in place for how these players will be paid when the regular season was expected to begin (though both MLB and the MLBPA are saying that it’s in the works), there are some options available.

10 Responses

  1. MK

    Maybe cutting the number of players by 25% is partially a result of minor leaguers advocacy groups putting pressure on MLB. Now with 1/4 less players employed and drafted that is 25% less being exploited. I have always felt a person knows the rate of pay and working conditions when they take a job and if they don’t like either they have the ability to turn down the job. It is all about choices. I am sure guys like Greene and Lodolo were initially offered less before they finally got the offer they liked. In other words they initially turned down the job.

    • Simon Cowell

      I 100% agree with you. Maybe the folks in the Caribbean and in Central, South America don’t have much of a choice but to exploited but by and large, you are correct. The vast majority are professionals seeking a career. Nobody is playing this game exclusively for love. They are playing for a paycheck and if they don’t like the wages its time to focus on other skills.

  2. Stan

    They know pay structures when they sign the contracts. While I do agree they deserve more, they can also walk away. There are so many jobs out there that fit the mold of competitiveness and pushing talent to the highest level.

    • Simon Cowell

      If they walked away they would also help solve the problem. Wages are a product of supply versus demand. If there was a shortage of players the pay would skyrocket. Every wonder why Trout has a 300 million dollar contract? There’s only one of him. If there were 10,000 put up the same numbers you could remove the zeros.

    • Doug Gray

      This isn’t like other jobs. If you choose to play baseball you are locked into one team for 7+ years, at worst. They can tell you where you live. They dictate entirely what your salary is regardless of your job performance. The comparison you are trying to make, flat out, is incorrect.

      • Simon Cowell

        What that if you dont like it you cant walk away?

      • Doug Gray

        Sure. You can. But it’s a really silly idea to present it in that way. If you want to be a baseball player as a profession, you’ve got one option. Outside of the NHL/NBA/NFL, is there another job like that in this country? Anything else you can at least sort of pick where you want to live while trying that profession. Even doctors that have to go do residencies get to try and pick among a handful of places to work from. Sports? You get to go where they tell you. When they tell you. And for what price they tell you. And there’s no negotiation.

      • BK

        There’s at least one other profession where you get to go where they tell you … when they tell you and for what price they tell you, and there’s no negotiation: U.S. military. Most early promotions are seniority based (non competitive) although early performance starts impacting promotion competitiveness down the road as top performers get opportunities to standout, just like top prospects. Unlike baseball, you can’t walk away just because you’re unhappy—you get to honor your commitment.

        Doctors get a choice if they have elite qualifications…many are only accepted by one school or can’t afford a private/out of state school. Most rack up mountains of debt. It takes 8 years to get an M.D. with most following on for 3-4 years more of residency.

        Candidates to become registered dietitian go through a national vetting/matching process for year-long internships that are prerequisite for taking their registered dietitian license test. They have input into where they go, but the process yields a match to one, and only one school. If you don’t like the match, you can reapply the next year with potential prejudice.

        You should talk to Mary Beth about the process of becoming an airline pilot. Average cost of obtaining licenses is $70K to $80K on top of a traditional bachelor’s degree. Then you get to build your flying time by instructing for a couple years making less than $20K/year. Then a regional airline where you’re on probation for a year and start at about $40K. After flying for the regionals for 3 to 4 years you might get hired by a major airline and now you’re back on probation for another year before you finally start earning a nice paycheck.

        I’m All for minor leaguers getting paid better, but lots of young Americans sacrifice early to pursue their chosen profession. Surprisingly few regret the sacrifices once they reach their goals. But to be clear, I think MLB should pay at least enough for minor leaguers to focus on their development full time and year round.

        Also, very hopeful that MLB pays them during the delayed start to this year’s season. All of the hourly workers had been fired at the hotel I stayed at last night (firing them let them apply for unemployment benefits and was deemed more financially advantageous to a furlough. This is a tough time and my heart goes out to all who are ill and otherwise affected.

  3. MK

    Doug, if you truly want to be a baseball player as a profession then you understand the industry you are entering into. Even physicians have to go to a competitive process to become an intern to work an ungodly number of hours for very little compensation for the chance at a big payday at the end. Those future doctors knew the process before they entered into it.

    • Doug Gray

      As noted, though: Doctors get far more choices in their profession.