MLB Will Require Teams To Cover Housing Costs For Minor Leaguers In 2022
Major League Baseball will cover the housing costs of minor league players beginning with the 2022 season.
MLB owners decided unanimously in September to “begin providing housing to certain minor league players,” according to a statement released by MLB. The same statement said the exact details are yet to be finalized, but will be announced before the 2022 season.
The development was first reported by ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
This is a dramatic development for the nearly 5,000 affiliated minor league players in domestic U.S. leagues. Securing affordable in-season housing has long been an issue for many minor leaguers. Adding to the complications is the player movement that is a part of most minor leaguers’ seasons. Many players find themselves stuck in six-month leases at one level while they are playing at another (or a third) level. The informal subletting that results between players has led to players having their credit scores dinged for non-payment of rent, even though they were no longer living in that city.
Some players have opted to live in their cars or the team’s clubhouses in some cases. In many other cases, players have packed as many teammates as they can into apartments to attempt to make ends meet.
“For most minor leaguers in the past, nearly 100% of our paychecks have gone straight to paying for housing during the season, leaving no room to pocket any money and making it nearly impossible to invest in yourself off the field or provide for your family," Pirates minor league catcher Joe Hudson said. "With housing being paid for (or being provided a stipend) players will now be able to actually make some money during the season and more comfortably provide for themselves and their families. This is an enormous win for MiLBers."
The MLB decision to cover housing costs continues a string of small, but growing successes by a concerted campaign by groups like Advocates for Minor Leaguers and More Than Baseball.
For the 2021 season, MLB raised the pay for minor leaguers. In 2020, public pressure helped force the Oakland Athletics to capitulate and continue to pay minor league players during the season after the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of the MiLB season. Oakland had initially told its players they would not be paid beginning in June. Over the past few seasons, more and more MLB teams have begun to pay players in spring training and extended spring training, something that was once unheard of (and is the subject of an ongoing lawsuit).
“This is a historic victory because Minor League players unified and utilized their collective voice to upset the status quo,” said the Advocates for Minor Leaguers in a Tweeted statement. "Next up is low, seasonal pay."
“We founded this organization trying to make change like this a reality,” More Than Baseball said in a Tweeted statement. "There’s a LONG way to go but this is a moment to celebrate."