A group of former minor leaguers has filed a lawsuit protesting that while they were playing, they received less than minimum wage and did not receive overtime, working for tiny monthly salaries to pursue their dream of making it to the Majors. Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star traveled to Clinton, Iowa as part of a long exposé on working conditions in the minor leagues. Class A players, for example, only make about $6,300 for an entire season, earning only per diems for instructional leagues and mandatory spring training. NBA and NHL minor leaguers make many times that amount. The extremely low wages for minor league baseball players might not be a hardship for early-round picks who receive six- or seven-figure bonuses, but they’re especially tough on the many players who sign for only a few thousand dollars. Here are more notes from around the game.
- A number of Cardinals players were at Busch Stadium Friday to pack their belongings, with some players not knowing whether they’ll return next season, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. 2014 was “up and down,” says Peter Bourjos, who made $1.2MM this season and is eligible for arbitration for the second time this winter. “Inconsistent playing time, inconsistent results — that’s how it goes sometimes. If there’s an opportunity out there, I’d like to play every day.” One player who sounds like he’ll certainly be returning is John Lackey, who says he has “every intention” of playing next season even though the Cardinals have an option on him for the league minimum salary. Also, impending free agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski says he’d like to continue playing. It’s unlikely that the Cardinals will re-sign him, however, with Yadier Molina and Tony Cruz at the catcher position.
- Two years after their last playoff game, the Yankees’ roster is dramatically different, Chad Jennings of the LoHud Yankees Blog writes. Of the 19 players Yankees who appeared in Game 4 of the 2012 ALCS, just four — Mark Teixeira, Brett Gardner, Alex Rodriguez and C.C. Sabathia — are under contract for 2015.
To use an old time phrase, paying minor leaguers ridiculously low salaries seems penny wise and pound foolish.
paying a player with no track record big money to produce numbers you have no hard evidence to support he even can put up is more often than not called wasting money.
if the players are any good then after those first few years of doing what these players love anyway each one gets the chance to make more money in a year than most of us will see in 10 as office drones.
Seems pretty fair to me.
There’s not much “fair” in paying a guy less than minimum wage in any scenario. Ever. Same as not paying your interns.
and how exactly do you pay an athlete minimum wage when their ‘work day’ can last anywhere from 2 hours to 6 in the case of extra inning games? and what about rain outs? do those count? How do you calculate overtime? How do you take into account that the season lasts longer for some teams and not others (the playoffs)? And who’s minimum wage do you apply? different states have different rates… do you base it on where the team is based or what state they’re playing in in a given day?
And how do you reconcile all that with the inarguable fact that most low minor league teams barely meet operating costs as it is? Forcing these kinds of arbitrary changes puts the minor league system as we know it out of business and most of the players you’re trying to help out of a job.
If the players don’t like it they don’t have to sign the contract and can go get a 9-to-5. this isn’t slave labor where they don’t have a choice, after all. If the players union, made up of former minor leaguers, thinks it’s such a problem, they can take it up in the next CBA.
I think it would be fair to at least apply the federal minimum wage for an 8 hour average. Players put in a lot more than than eight hours. And the major league team pays the player salaries. This has no impact on the MiLB team operating costs.
you think doubling every player’s salary is going to encourage the MLB team to continue paying to field an entire roster of 2 or 3 promising players and a bunch of filler? Or do you think these mlb teams are going to decide to not renew their player development contracts and cut the number of minor league levels from 8 to 4 and leave the rest of the newly independent leagues to fend for themselves and their 40 grand a year players?
And as for the minor leagues the teams don’t decide to cut, well, as hourly employees MLB isn’t required to pay for anything not related to actual playing time. they can decide not to pay for all that extra coaching and conditioning time for anybody but the best prospects. technically they wouldn’t even have to pay for the team buses since transportation is not mandatory for hourly workers.
so they’d only have to pay each player for about 4 hours 5 days a week for 6 months a year… making them part time employees. which means they’d get even less benefits.
much better system, right?
Gonna guess my other comment didn’t get approved, but basically you’re a pretty horrible person if you can come up with all of these things as to not treat someone like a human being with dignity. This is the same nonsense argument as not paying people at McDonalds a living wage, except McDonalds franchise owners aren’t billionaires.
Minor Leaguers aren’t part of the CBA. That’s why there’s a lawsuit. Educate yourself.
I kind of like Bourjos. His problem on the Cardinals is that Jon Jay is a good enough defender to not need a late inning sub and Jay hits lefties better than Bourjos does. Given that he will most likely be around $2 million after arbitration, I’d say he gets non tendered.
Didn’t the Cardinals allow him to start the season as the starting CF? He may be great on defense but he can’t hit.
Don’t follow the Cards, but looking at his game log, he started 13 of the team’s first 22 games (slashing .178/.245/.289) and then only started 5 of their next 15 games (slashing .304/.385/.522). Seemed to get pretty split playing time over the first half of the season (starting 43 of the teams 83 games), and then they decided to use him much less frequently in the second half (starting just 22 of the teams remaining 79 games).
Maybe its my imagination, but they don’t seem like the type of org that tolerates dissent as minor as that was.
He has too much value to be non-tendered. If anything, he’ll be traded.
Folks complain about the talent going to football and basketball, especially African American talent. Maybe the minor league pay scale and working/playing conditions has something to do with the reduction in the talent pool.
Why does an 8 billion dollar sport have to stiff their minor leaguers? Only a small fraction get decent bonuses and a lot of top talent comes from lower rounds in the draf)?. Maybe Congress needs to get involved like they did with PED’s. Disgraceful really.
Low level minor league pay is low, regardless if the minor league baseball system is much more extensive than that of the NHL or NBA. Playing mid February through mid September also limits off season earning potential.
it’s because an NBA team has to pay what, 15 players total? And the NFL has no real retirement plan worth mentioning and no guaranteed contracts.
each baseball team has to support a major league team, plus 1 each of AAA, AA, rookie league and 2 different A ball rosters… each i think at 25 a piece, which is roughly 150 players per team on payroll… plus coaching and front office staff.
You pay rookies in MLB the way you do in the NBA and MLB is bankrupt within a year. Even Congress is smart enough to know that.
I think with the MLB making over 9 billion a year in revenue, it’s fair to pay minor leaguers at least the same amount as the guys who flip burgers at McDonald’s.
If the Cardinals are ready to play Taveras full-time in RF, that leaves
Bourjos, Jay, and Grichuk for CF. Wouldn’t be surprised to see one
of them moved this offseason.
Most teams carry 5 OF. Or at least 4 and a utility guy that can go out there in a pinch. I’d be happy with that 5 going into the season. Maybe Piscotty is the one that gets moved.
And of course I’m adding in Holliday as the 5th.