LOS ANGELES ( Associated Press) — Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred defended the game’s treatment of minor leaguers, prompting immediate criticism from a players’ advocacy group.
“I dismiss the premise of the question that minor league players are not paid a living wage,” Manfred told the Baseball Writers Association of America ahead of Tuesday’s All-Star Game.
“I think we have made real progress over the years in terms of what minor league players are paid, even putting aside the signing bonuses many of them already receive. They get housing, which is clearly another form of compensation.
MLB raised the minimum wage in 2021, raising Class A pay from $290 to $500 per week, Double-A from $350 to $600, and Triple-A from $502 to $700 over a nearly five-month season. Players are only paid in-season, with salaries ranging around $5,000-$15,000 annually.
Amateur players living in the United States and Canada, who have been selected in this week’s amateur draft, have slot values for their signing bonuses, which clubs use as guidelines, ranging from $8.8 million for the first pick. Up to $150,000 only for 10th final selection. and the final round. MLB says it spends about $450 million each year on signing bonuses for first-year players.
Last November, MLB announced that teams are required to provide furnished accommodation with one bed per player and no more than two players per bedroom. Teams are responsible for basic utility bills.
Harry Marino, executive director of Advocates for Minor Leaguers, responded to Manfred, saying, “Most minor league baseball players take a second job because their annual salary is insufficient to make ends meet.” “His suggestion that minor league pay is acceptable is both harsh and false.”
Papers filed Friday in federal court showed MLB agreed to pay $185 million to settle a lawsuit by the minor leaguers. MLB agreed in a deal to repeal any sanctions against teams that pay wages to minor league players out of season.
An initial estimate is that perhaps 23,000 players could share the money with an average payout of $55.5 million, with $55.5 million going to the players’ lawyers.
Leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee have asked Manfred to clarify by next Tuesday whether to strip the sport of antitrust exemptions from the effect of a possible law covering the sport’s ties with minor league players.
While players with major league contracts are unionized, players with minor league contracts are not. According to a federal disclosure statement, the Major League Baseball Players Association gave $50,000 to Advocates for Minor Leaguers last November.
Union head Tony Clark, a former baseman, told BBWAA in a question-and-answer question-and-answer: “It’s exciting to see players recognize and appreciate the power of their collective voice, which they live day to day.” Sessions before Manfred. “Harry Marino and the Advocates for Minor Leaguers have done a tremendous job at attracting and educating minor leaguers and helping them find their voices. … We are watching. We are providing support when and where possible .
In other news:
– Manfred said the Oakland Athletics needed to quickly reach a binding agreement for a new ballpark, and that a relocation – the team is exploring Las Vegas – could be considered if a facility in the Bay Area would be available. There has been no deal. “It needs to happen now. It needs to happen.”
— His preferred location for a new Rays ballpark would be on the Tampa side of the bay rather than St. Petersburg, but he says the site alone won’t be a determining factor.
– MLB is moving forward with plans for advertising on uniforms next season. The new labor contract agreed in March allows teams to add patches advertising uniforms and helmets. In April San Diego became the first team to announce a deal with Motorola for 2023. “I think jersey patch ads on jerseys are a reality of life in professional sports,” Manfred said.
— Clark is concerned about the growing commercial deals of sports with sports gambling companies. The US Supreme Court in 2018 ruled to overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which outlawed sports betting. A BetMGM retail sportsbook opened this year at the National Park in Washington, DC, and DraftKings is building a sportsbook to open next year at the southeast corner of Wrigley Field. “We are daring to enter a very delicate and dangerous world here,” Clark said. “When you have players suggesting that PASPA wasn’t repealed soon enough, they start following them on social media, which gets you kinda twitch pretty quickly.”
– MLB says it is unable to play former and current major leaguers playing Cuba for their country in the World Baseball Classic. The Association of Cuban Professional Baseball Players was formed with the goal of gaining entry into the WBC, which will next be played on March 8–21.
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