MLB to Raise Salary for Minor League Players in 2021
After years of fighting and arguing, relief is on the way for minor league baseball salaries. As we know the MLB salary for players is very high. Now minor league players will make additional money albeit, not on the same level as Major League players.
The news initially came as a memo by Morgan Sword, MLB Executive Vice President of Baseball Economics and Operations. Two years after MLB successfully made minor league players exempt from minimum wage laws, they’re taking a different path. Players across the span of minor league baseball now should expect pay increases from 30 percent to over 70 percent beginning in 2021.
The pay increases will vary from level to level beginning with the rookie and short-season leagues. Players in those leagues should see their income per week increase from $290 to $400. Class A players will be bumped from $290 to $500. Meanwhile, the Double-A field will see an increase of $250 to $600 per week. Finally, the Triple-A field will see an increase from $502 weekly to $700 per week.
While it does represent an improvement in the right direction, minor league players still are only paid for five months out of the year. They are not paid during the offseason nor during Spring Training. Clearly there is still a long way to go for minor league salaries to be anywhere close to the average MLB salary.
Tensions Are Still Present
The move does represent a positive in a seemingly never-ending negative saga that is minor league salaries. With that said, it addresses only one small aspect of the overall picture. Much to the dismay and argument of small towns and teams, MLB is still looking to strip 42 teams of their major league affiliations. That comes despite a somewhat conflicting message by commissioner Rob Manfred during the Winter Meetings.
“Obviously there is a way to pay people more without reducing the number of franchises,” said Manfred. “I think the question there becomes who should bear all of the costs associated with the player-related improvements that we think need to be made in our minor league system.”
Even with the bump, the salary discrepancy is still quite large. The Major League minimum as it sits this year is $563,500 with top players like Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and others earning as much as $30 million per year. Players on the 40-man rosters on option to the minors will be receiving $46,000 this season. While some players earn as little as $1,000 when signed and others receive upwards of millions of dollars in signing bonuses. Only players at the major league level earn the benefit of joining the MLB players union if on the 40-man roster. That still leaves all minor league participants without such benefits.
Nearly every team in Major League Baseball has paid minor league players in their system the lowest possible amount. That’s except for the Toronto Blue Jays who already took the initiative to increase minor league pay by 50 percent prior to the 2019 campaign. They have been the only team to do so up to this point.
Overall, the pay increase is viewed on a positive note yet many still believe more is needed. MLB seemed to take a strong start but only time will tell as to whether tensions ease or tighten between Minor League Baseball and MLB.