collectAs we enter Day 1 of the MLB lockout, one key issue in the current labor negotiations is where the players’ minimum salary will land. Given the union’s stated goal to get players paid more when they’re younger and more productive, it stands to reason that they’re seeking a more significant increase than usual. The minimum salary was set at $570,500 in 2021. It’s not known how much MLB proposed raising it in their most recent offer. Here’s a look at how the minimum salary has changed with each new CBA.
- 1968: Minimum salary went from $6K to $10K, a 66.7% increase
- 1970: $10K to $12K, a 20% increase
- 1973: $13.5K to $15K, an 11.1% increase
- 1976: $16K to $19K, an 18.8% increase
- 1980: $21K to $30K, a 42.9% increase
- 1985: $40K to $60K, a 50% increase
- 1990: $68K to $100K, a 47.1% increase
- 1997: $109K to $150K, a 37.6% increase
- 2003: $200K to $300K, a 50% increase
- 2007: $327K to $380K, a 16.2% increase
- 2012: $414K to $480K, a 15.9% increase
- 2017: $507.5K to $535K, a 5.4% increase
In the free agency era, the minimum salary had always increased by at least 15.9% until the just-expired CBA. There is historical precedent for a leap as high as 50%, which would mean $855,750 for 2022. An increase of 16% would be more in line with the ’07 and ’12 CBAs, which would set the minimum at $661,780. It should also be noted that the minimum salary typically increases each year within a CBA, with the ’20 and ’21 rates involving cost of living adjustments.