Beginning in the 2022 season, Major League Baseball will require all 30 teams to provide housing for all minor league players, ESPN.com’s Jeff Passan reports. The owners agreed to the decision via unanimous vote last month, though details of the plan are still being worked out, such as whether the teams will have to directly provide the housing, or if players’ stipends will be increased with more money to be specifically directed towards renting or other accommodations.
Today’s news is both welcome and overdue, considering that the conditions faced by most minor league players has been a subject of controversy in recent years, especially since those conditions worsened due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Several reporters (including ESPN’s Joon Lee, Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper, and The Athletic’s Sam Blum) and several past and present minor leaguers have illustrated the meager salaries paid to most players in the minors, which has subsequently forced many of those players into less-than-ideal living situations. This has a snowball effect on a player’s diet, sleep, ability to properly train, and their mental health in general, leaving it difficult for many prospects to even live their lives normally, let alone focus on developing their baseball skills.
Some teams have already taken steps to improve the environments of their minor league players, whether it through increased stipends for food or lodging, improved minor league facilities, or (as the Astros implemented for their prospects this year) fully furnished housing arranged and paid for by the club. The league-wide mandate, however, will put standards in place for all 30 teams to follow.