Minor league players will have one less thing to worry about beginning in 2022, with new regulations announced by MLB that will require major league teams to provide and secure housing for the vast majority of players on farm teams.
Details of the agreement, which were finalized at the major league owners meetings this week in Chicago, are as follows:
To be compliant with the 2022 Minor League Housing Policy, Clubs must provide housing accommodation options located at a reasonable, commutable distance from the ballpark.
Bedrooms must contain a single bed per player, and there shall be no more than two players per bedroom at all PDL levels.
Accommodations must be furnished, and Clubs will be responsible for basic utility bills at Club-provided living arrangements.
To the extent that apartments, rental homes, or host families are not feasible at a PDL level, Clubs may choose to provide hotel rooms that satisfy standards put in place.
The Housing Policy will only apply to players under a Minor League UPC.
Players shall be entitled to receive housing accommodations any time they are directed to report but will always retain the right to opt out of the Club-provided housing.
UPC stands for Uniform Player Contract, and the housing policy won’t apply to players on a minor league contract paying them at least $100,000. Any minor league players on the 40-man — like Dodgers Jacob Amaya, James Outman, Eddys Leonard, Jorbit Vivas, and Michael Grove, who were added to the roster on Friday — will also be responsible for their own housing while in the minors.
But for the majority of players in the minors — MLB in a press release estimated more than 90 percent of minor leaguers will be covered by the housing plan — not having to worry about housing removes a burden that has proven cumbersome, especially with so much movement between minor league levels throughout the year.
As Josh Norris, who broke the news of the housing policy at Baseball America on Thursday, noted, “That is an important development for minor league players—leases often remained in a player’s name after they were promoted or demoted, requiring them to pay for their lease at their previous level in addition to their new level.”
It’s an important win for minor league players, who are not represented by a union and with pay rates below the poverty line for hundreds. Minimum salary in Triple-A, for instance, is $700 per week, which equates to only $16,100 for the entire season.
Groups like Advocates for Minor Leaguers have provided a voice for players, who have exposed poor working or living conditions throughout the season. Like in August sharing this living situation, which is no longer allowed under the new housing policy.
MLB can afford to spend $5 million to build a field for one game.— Advocates for Minor Leaguers (@MiLBAdvocates) August 12, 2021
Yet Minor Leaguers are still making poverty wages and living like this: 6 to a 2-bedroom apartment, with 1 guy on the couch and 1 in the kitchen.
How is that possible? pic.twitter.com/ebRXov2K9d
“Let there be no mistake: this victory is the product of collective action by players,” said Harry Marino, executive director of Advocates for Minor Leaguers. “While the magnitude of the victory cannot be overstated, it is important to recognize that Minor League players had no formal say regarding the details of the plan, some of which create cause for concern. We look forward to receiving a full round of feedback about the new policy and to advocating for changes where appropriate.”
- Derek Rhoads and Rob Mains at Baseball Prospectus chronicled missed time for injuries that wasn’t captured by injured list stints. The Dodgers had the second-most such missed time, with 85 days.
- Hannah Keyser at Yahoo Sports outlined the key issues in labor negotiations between players and owners that could lead to a lockout once the collective bargaining agreement expires on December 1.
- Dustin Nosler at Dodgers Digest looked at potential bench additions for the Dodgers.
- Can magicians solve sign stealing in baseball? Zach Buchanan at The Athletic tries to find out.