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The Associated Press on Friday reported that Major League Baseball had agreed to a significant salary raise for minor leaguers starting with the 2021 season.
According to the report, the minimum weekly salary for players on Rookie-level and short-season teams would move from $290 to $400 (a raise of roughly 38 percent), players at Class A would move from $290 to $500 (72 percent), Double-A would jump from $350 to $600 (71 percent) and Triple-A would increase from $502 to $700 (39 percent).
The move comes a little less than two years after the passage of the Save America’s Pastime Act, which was designed to exempt minor leaguers from the Fair Labor Standards Act, which guarantees minimum wages for millions of workers around the country.
Minor leaguers are paid from Opening Day until the last game of the season, which means players at short-season will now earn roughly $4,800 for their three-month season, players in Class A will make around $10,000 for a five-month season, Double-A players will earn $12,000 and Triple-A players will earn a minimum of $14,000.
This move comes after the Blue Jays agreed before the 2019 season to raise their minor leaguers’ salaries by 50 percent.
Perhaps more significantly, the move looks like the next twist in the ongoing saga surrounding the minor leagues. Major and Minor League Baseball have squabbled publicly and privately for months about the plan to remove 42 of the 160 full- and short-season minor league teams.
Commissioner Rob Manfred has repeatedly mentioned that, despite the passage of the Save America’s Pastime Act, increased salaries and conditions for minor leaguers were among MLB’s priorities. Even so, he said during this past Winter Meetings, the league was not going to bear full responsibility for the cost of those changes.
“Obviously there is a way to pay people more without reducing the number of franchises,” Manfred said. “I think the question there becomes who should bear all of the costs associated with the player-related improvements that we think need to be made in the minor league system.”
According to a report by Forbes, MLB’s revenues reached $10.7 billion in 2019.