How Will MLB's New Housing Policy Apply To Married Minor Leaguers?
The news that Major League Baseball teams will be responsible for providing housing to almost all Minor League Baseball players beginning in 2022 is understandably being greeted warmly by almost everyone.
The decision to take the responsibility for finding housing (and being responsible for leases and utilities) out of the hands of players and putting it onto the teams removes one of the biggest stressors players have faced in-season. Instead of having to sublet rooms or break leases and then find a new place any time they are promoted or demoted, players will now be able to simply step into a new, team-provided furnished place at their new stop.
The only group left out of the new policy are the highest paid of minor league players—those who are on major league rosters or are making $20,000 a month or more in their minor league contract.
But there is one group that is left a little uncertain about how they are covered by the new rules—players who are married.
The MLB memo spells out in detail the requirements for rooms, furnishings, appliances and what is covered. But when it comes to covering players who have family members who travel with them, the memo is rather ambiguous.
The memo seems to indicate that MLB teams will be left to decide how they handle family housing. The memo says: “Clubs may establish their own policies regarding guests, including spouses, children, friends, etc. Clubs also may establish policies about pets and alcohol on the premises.”
The sleeping accommodations state that “bedrooms must contain a single bed per player, and there shall be no more than two beds per bedroom.” So a team could meet the housing provisions while having all players share a bedroom with another player (as they do in hotel rooms on the road), which would make it more difficult for players with families.
The one other provision that could cover this is the note in the memo that “players shall always have the right to opt out of the Club-providing housing arrangement, at their expense.”
So for players looking to have their spouse spend the summer wherever they are playing, it appears they will either be dependent on their individual MLB club’s policy providing for families or they will have to opt out and cover housing expenses on their own.