MLB approves first contract for minor league players
The minor leaguers ratified their first collective bargaining agreement with Major League Baseball before the start of the season on Friday.
Players and league officials agreed to a five-year contract on Wednesday. MLB owners are expected to vote on the deal next week.
The Major League Baseball Players Association, which began representing players with minor league contracts in September, said Friday that more than 99 percent of minor leaguers who cast ballots approved the contract. About 5,500 players are in the bargaining unit.
“This is a historic day for these players,” union chief Tony Clarke said in one Statement.
Under the deal, minimum salaries for minor league players will increase by tens of thousands of dollars, and for the first time, players will be paid in the offseason.
For rookies, the salary will increase from $4,800 to $19,800. In Low Class A, salaries will increase from $11,000 to $26,200 while in High Class A will increase from $13,800 to $27,300. Triple-A players will go from $17,500 to $35,800.
The deal comes as welcome news to minor leaguers who have historically been underpaid compared to their professional brethren in the major leagues. Some minor league players said that he Took odd jobs — like mowing the lawn – to make ends meet during the offseason. Other players have taken part-time landscaping gigs or moonlighting as athletic trainers.
Minor league players will get paid for four weeks of spring training this year. They will receive $625 per week for spring training and offseason training camp and $250 per week for offseason workouts at home.
Most players will. Guaranteed accommodation, and Double A and Triple A players will be given the same room. Low A and High A players will have the option of exchanging club housing for a stipend. First-time signings age 19 or older can become minor league free agents after six seasons instead of seven.
MLB agreed not to reduce the number of minor league affiliates below the current 120. Beginning in 2024, teams will be allowed to have a maximum of 165 players under contract during the season and 175 during the offseason, down from the current limits of 190 and 180.
Players will have second medical opinions, 401(k) plan and arbitration rights to contest discipline under the fair purpose standard. The union contract also includes policies against domestic violence and performance-enhancing drugs.
The union will take group licensing rights for the players.