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Blue Jays to raise minor league salaries by 50% - first in MLB to do so

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Blue Jays to raise minor league salaries by 50% - first in MLB to do so 

Post#1 » by dagger » Sun Mar 17, 2019 3:33 pm

This story is behind the paywall, but it's basically a scoop from Emily Waldon and Ken Rosenthal that the Jays have decided to unilaterally raise all minor league player salaries by 50% - basically with the idea that the players will benefit. It's not a life changing increase, but it's going to benefit guys who have to literally live on the margins while pursue a major league goal - or who just want to keep playing the game they love. The story is a little short on details about how this will work, for example, the salary of a Class A player is probably fairly predictable, but at Class AAA, you have career minor leaguers who may be paid already more than a minimum

https://theathletic.com/872732/2019/03/17/blue-jays-ready-to-embrace-change-finalizing-minor-league-pay-increase-of-more-than-50-percent/
When the “Save America’s Pastime” act passed in March 2018, depriving minor leaguers of overtime pay beyond a 40-hour work week, the Blue Jays already were talking about how they could improve the compensation of players in their farm system.
A year later, the team is in the process of finalizing a pay increase of more than 50 percent for any player who is on a roster of an affiliated minor-league club, from the lowest rung in the Dominican Summer League to the highest level at Triple A, club officials told The Athletic.
“It puts us right now up at the top of the scale in the industry,” Jays vice president of baseball operations Ben Cherington said on Saturday. “My hope is it doesn’t stay that way. My hope is other teams eventually do the same.


(Compensation levels for minor leaguers vary widely but Save America’s Pastime Act, for instance, brought the monthly pay of Single-A players from $1,100 to $1,160. The Athletic’s Levi Weaver wrote in depth about minor-league salaries last spring.)


For the Jays, the pay increases are the result of nearly a year of internal discussion and research, and part of an organizational philosophy to focus on the well-being of players.
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Re: Blue Jays to raise minor league salaries by 50% - first in MLB to do so 

Post#2 » by dagger » Sun Mar 17, 2019 3:39 pm

Here's a free access version of the news from another source

https://mlb.nbcsports.com/2019/03/17/blue-jays-to-raise-minor-league-pay-by-50-percent/

Blue Jays to raise minor league pay by 50 percent
By Craig Calcaterra

Mar 17, 2019, 10:54 AM EDT


For the past several years we and others have chronicled the sorry state of pay for minor leaguers. Woefully underpaid for years — making less than minimum wage, getting no overtime despite working long hours and being forced into all manner of unpaid training — lawsuits were filed against Major League Baseball for violating federal labor laws.

MLB’s response: lobby Congress for special treatment allowing them, by law, to continue to mistreat their employees. That lobbying paid off last year via the passage of the so-called “Save America’s Pastime Act” which classified ballplayers as “seasonal workers” like landscapers or lifeguards, thereby exempting them from the protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. Just yesterday Emily Waldon of The Athletic shared a story about just how much of a hardship this state of affairs has visited upon minor leaguers, many of whom have to give up baseball as a result of the dreadful pay.

While fans and commentators who are aware of these practices have howled, there has been no suggestion that Major League Baseball gives a crap. As of today, however, we have learned that at least one team does: The Athletic reports that the Toronto Blue Jays “are in the process of finalizing a pay increase of more than 50 percent for any player who is on a roster of an affiliated minor-league club, from the lowest rung in the Dominican Summer League to the highest level at Triple A, club.”

At the moment, Single-A players make around $1,100 a month, Triple-A players around $2,100-$2,500 a month and are not paid for the offseason, when they have to train and often must attend team events, or for spring training where, obviously, attendance is mandatory. A 50% raise over that still pays many of these players less than minimum wage on an hourly basis over the course of a year, but bumps some over and, in any event, is certainly a substantial increase. Is it good enough? Not really. But it’s a start and a welcome change of approach by at least one club.

Mark Shapiro of the Blue Jays says in the article that he hopes other teams follow suit and I share that hope. Still, it’s a sad comment that paying minor leaguers something even approaching a living wage is a matter of choice — and something for which the Blue Jays will be lauded — as a opposed to a basic requirement that the Jays and other teams should be obligated to meet.
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Re: Blue Jays to raise minor league salaries by 50% - first in MLB to do so 

Post#3 » by Schad » Sun Mar 17, 2019 7:31 pm

This is a positive move, but it's definitely nowhere near enough. It's also, from a competitive standpoint, the right thing to do by a mile; it doesn't aid player development if they're living five to an apartment and cannot afford proper nutrition. Given how valuable even a solid middle reliever is in their cost controlled years, this is probably a net benefit financially in addition to being basic decency.
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Re: Blue Jays to raise minor league salaries by 50% - first in MLB to do so 

Post#4 » by dagger » Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:07 pm

Schad, the Jays acknowledge that it's just a start of a bigger effort to make wholesale improvements in the minor league routine, covering those areas like rest, nutrition, travel, housing, etc

Here's some numbers from John Lott's story in The Athletic
After a 40 per cent raise, a first-year Triple-A player will make roughly $3,050 per month or $15,250 for a five-month season. In Double A, players will get 50 per cent boost to about $2,550 per month or $12,750 per season. Single-A players receive a 56 per cent raise to just less than $2,400 per month or a shade below $12,000 per season.
It should be stressed that these figures are rough estimates, extrapolated by adding the Jays’ percentage increases to the minimum minor-league salaries set by Major League Baseball. They do not include bonuses or the wide variance in Triple-A salaries based on a player’s experience. And MLB mandates salaries for all players playing their first pro season.
Beyond the percentage increases for each level, Murov declined to provide a more precise salary scale, citing privacy reasons. While the pay increases add a sizeable expense, he also refused to give the total amount the Blue Jays spend on minor-league operations, saying only that it’s “a seven-figure budget line.”
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Re: Blue Jays to raise minor league salaries by 50% - first in MLB to do so 

Post#5 » by SharoneWright » Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:29 pm

dagger wrote:Schad, the Jays acknowledge that it's just a start of a bigger effort to make wholesale improvements in the minor league routine, covering those areas like rest, nutrition, travel, housing, etc

This is great. Probably doesn't break the Blue Jays' bank, and really meaningful to the players. A classy thing to do. Might even bolster the team's reputation with IFA's... Between this move, and the big renovation of Dunedin,, maybe a few more people will recognize that Rogers does spend.
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Re: Blue Jays to raise minor league salaries by 50% - first in MLB to do so 

Post#6 » by Schad » Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:49 pm

dagger wrote:Schad, the Jays acknowledge that it's just a start of a bigger effort to make wholesale improvements in the minor league routine, covering those areas like rest, nutrition, travel, housing, etc

Here's some numbers from John Lott's story in The Athletic
After a 40 per cent raise, a first-year Triple-A player will make roughly $3,050 per month or $15,250 for a five-month season. In Double A, players will get 50 per cent boost to about $2,550 per month or $12,750 per season. Single-A players receive a 56 per cent raise to just less than $2,400 per month or a shade below $12,000 per season.
It should be stressed that these figures are rough estimates, extrapolated by adding the Jays’ percentage increases to the minimum minor-league salaries set by Major League Baseball. They do not include bonuses or the wide variance in Triple-A salaries based on a player’s experience. And MLB mandates salaries for all players playing their first pro season.
Beyond the percentage increases for each level, Murov declined to provide a more precise salary scale, citing privacy reasons. While the pay increases add a sizeable expense, he also refused to give the total amount the Blue Jays spend on minor-league operations, saying only that it’s “a seven-figure budget line.”


Just ballparking, I get less than a $2m increase in costs, and that's erring on the high side. If you get one extra fringe-average player every couple years out of the deal, it's a net benefit.
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Re: Blue Jays to raise minor league salaries by 50% - first in MLB to do so 

Post#7 » by Adrian_05 » Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:55 pm

Its obviously just a start, but its still good to see.
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Re: Blue Jays to raise minor league salaries by 50% - first in MLB to do so 

Post#8 » by I_Like_Dirt » Mon Mar 18, 2019 2:25 pm

I like it. Hopefully a lot more of this from the Jays and the rest of the league sooner than later. The most ridiculous part of teams figuring out that free agency was a bad idea was that they were taking a small bit of that money and spending it on non-player salaries - analytics, scouting and such - and then just banking the rest. Really, paying players more who are underpaid is the right idea. Not that teams should stop with the scouting, analytics and such. Teams can still easily do both with less money than they can to spend on a boat anchor of a contract. I'm fine with teams not paying players retirement contracts if it means they actually pay everyone else better in the process. We're still a long ways from that point, though.
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Re: Blue Jays to raise minor league salaries by 50% - first in MLB to do so 

Post#9 » by Brinbe » Mon Mar 18, 2019 6:07 pm

Def a push in the right direction
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Re: Blue Jays to raise minor league salaries by 50% - first in MLB to do so 

Post#10 » by Tanner » Mon Mar 18, 2019 6:58 pm

It still amazes me that it took this long for teams to look into the nutrition of its young players, much less everything else. Glad the jays appear to be ahead of the curve here. The next five years for this team will be really fun to watch.
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Re: Blue Jays to raise minor league salaries by 50% - first in MLB to do so 

Post#11 » by dagger » Mon Mar 18, 2019 11:36 pm

Well, the Jays certainly lit a fire
http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/26298523/mlb-eyes-higher-salarries-minors
Major League Baseball suggested sweeping changes to the minor leagues -- including a significant increase in salaries, a higher standard of living conditions and better transportation -- during an initial collective-bargaining session with the group that oversees the minors, sources familiar with the meeting told ESPN.

After years of weathering criticism and lawsuits regarding minor league pay, MLB appears ready to remedy what long has been considered substandard treatment of its future players. The meeting took place within the last month, around the same time the Toronto Blue Jays were finalizing a new wage scale for their minor league players, which was first reported by The Athletic. The working agreement between MLB and the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, which operates Minor League Baseball, expires in September 2020.

"We have received many questions regarding the decision of the Toronto Blue Jays to increase the salaries of minor league players," MLB said in a statement to ESPN. "While each Club makes its own decisions regarding minor league salaries, the Office of the Commissioner is presently in negotiations with the National Association of Professional Baseball on the terms of a new agreement between the Major Leagues and the Minor Leagues to replace the agreement that expires in September 2020. The working conditions of minor league players, including their compensation, facilities and benefits, is an important area of discussion in those negotiations."
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