Raising minor-league wages is a plus, but there’s still work to be done

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Major League Baseball is likely tired of all of the discussion about the working and living conditions of Minor League Baseball players, and the proof of that is in the latest rumor on the matter. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported on Tuesday that MLB and the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, which runs MiLB, are discussing ways to increase player pay and improve the conditions they deal with.

There are a few things to keep in mind from the start here, and they should temper your enthusiasm for this as anything but MLB trying to get fans and media to stop looking behind the curtain. Harm reduction is great and all, but there remains work to be done.

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MLBPA support for minor leaguers is both right and necessary

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2019’s service time manipulation is already here

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Reader mailbag: Rule changes, MiLB organizing, Yasiel Puig

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MLB is fighting to suppress Minor League Baseball wages again

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Minor League Baseball players aren’t paid during spring training, and Major League Baseball would like to keep it that way for any of them that play in Arizona. The state has a minimum wage law, voted on by Arizona’s own citizens in 2016, that will increase the rate from the current $11 to $12 by 2020, and MLB wants an exemption for Minor League players in the state, in the same way they received an exemption from the federal government for minimum wage with the atrocious “Save America’s Pastime Act.”

Some background: MiLB’s players are already only paid during the regular season — not during spring training nor the MiLB postseason — and that pay is horrifically inadequate as is. Players are paid a minimum of $1,160 per month, which is the minimum wage rate for 40 hours of work per week, per month. The thing is, players are working more like 70 hours per week, don’t receive overtime pay, and are often responsible for paying for their own equipment in addition to housing and food costs. When the season ends, these same players have to get jobs outside of baseball in order to survive until the next paycheck comes in.

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