Report: MLB to Pay for Housing for Minor League Players in 2022

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© Provided by Sports Illustrated

Owners voted unanimously in favor of providing housing for minor league players across all four levels.

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As calls for improved playing conditions and compensation grow louder, Major League Baseball has reportedly taken a big step in improving the lives of minor league baseball players.

League owners have unanimously approved a plan that would have teams provide housing for all minor league players across all levels, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The details of the plan are still unclear, and it’s not yet known whether teams will merely provide stipends to cover living costs or set up housing themselves, but the vote took place in mid-December and will take effect next season.

Minor league players across the sport have been outspoken at the inadequate working conditions, from housing responsibilities and salaries that are below a livable wage. While housing is certainly a primary concern, it isn’t the only one, but this development is a significant step toward addressing a wide-scale problem facing the sport.

“This is a historic victory for minor league baseball players,” Harry Marino, the executive director of Advocates of Minor Leaguers, told ESPN. “When we started talking to players this season about the difficulties they face, finding and paying for in-season housing was at the top of almost every player’s list. As a result, addressing that issue became our top priority.”

The move by the league follows the Astros opting to provide furnished apartments for all of their minor league players in May of this year. According to Passan, the total cost for a club to provide housing to all minor league players at home is less than $1 million for one season.

Minor league players saw weekly minimum salary increases at each level this year. Players at Class A saw a bump from $290 to $500; Double-A players jumped from $350 to $600; and Triple-A players had salaries increase from $502 to $700.

“Most Minor Leaguers make less than $15,000 per year and won’t receive their next paycheck until April,” Marino said. “For the next six months, they will spend hours each day training – as required by contract – while trying to balance second and third jobs to make ends meet. Like housing six players in a two-bedroom apartment, this is a broken model from a bygone era. Minor leaguers will not rest until they receive the livable annual salary they deserve.”

MLB cut 42 minor league affiliates last year with the goal of improving conditions for minor leaguers and increase pay. Those critical of the decision saw it as an expense-saving tactic that diminished opportunities for players to reach the majors, and making the game less accessible in smaller cities.

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