MLB announces plan to improve housing for minor league players
While additional details are not yet confirmed, the league will require teams to begin doing so in the 2022 season.
Major Baseball League will soon require teams to provide housing for minor league players in its four minor league affiliate leagues.
In a statement released on Sunday, Oct. 17, the MLB said: “In mid-September, the owners discussed the issue of player housing and unanimously agreed to begin providing housing to certain Minor League players. We are in the process of finalizing the details of that policy and expect it to be announced and in place for the 2022 season.”
This impending new policy is part of the league’s new focused commitment to creating a first-class development system.
"This is a historic victory for minor league baseball players," Harry Marino, executive director of Advocates of Minor Leaguers and a former minor league player, told ESPN. "When we started talking to players this season about the difficulties they face, finding and paying for in-season housing was at the top of almost every player's list. As a result, addressing that issue became our top priority."
In July 2021, several minor league players with the Los Angeles Angels’ minor league affiliate spoke out about how substandard wages have resulted in many of them being forced into unacceptable living situations, as reported by Sports Illustrated.
According to the report, some players have had to cram into small apartments with each other, some players spent their nights in a van parked in a trailer park, while others had to live out of their cars due to being unable to afford a hotel.
In May 2021, the Houston Astros provided its minor league players with furnished apartments, while other teams offered rooms or stipends for certain players. That approach likely played a role in the league’s new impending housing policy.
More Than Baseball, a nonprofit organization with the mission of “building a better future for Minor League Baseball Players,” also provided housing grants to minor league players this season.
Jeff Passan, MLB insider for ESPN, reported that the total cost for a team to house all minor league players at home for one season is less than $1 million.
While more efforts continue to take shape, minor league players have discussed the possibility of organizing to further assist with improving their work conditions.
"It was this unprecedented behavior — minor league players unifying and utilizing their collective voice — that ultimately upset the status quo," said Marino.
Housing is just one of the areas the MLB is looking to address in its new approach towards improving and modernizing its development system.
Prior to the start of the 2021 season, the MLB increased its minor league player salaries by 38% to 72%, depending on level.
Now, the average total salary for minor league players range between $10,500 and $14,700 for five months of work during the season, according to sportingnews.com.
The league also reduced travel requirements during the season, and cut 42 minor league affiliates last year, with the specific goal in mind to improve conditions and increase pay for its minor league players.