Blue Jays increase minor-league pay
Among all of the frustrations with the CBA, the slow winter and the general attitude towards winning (or lack thereof) being shown from many clubs around the majors, still the biggest knock against them has been the way they pay minor leaguers. This is a true injustice in baseball, with the league spending absurd amounts of money to lobby Congress and local legislatures in order to protect their right to pay these players less than a living wage. Many will point to the biggest names who receive huge signing bonuses, which fine. Someone who gets a couple million dollars out of college can probably afford to live for less than minimum wage. That being said, A) they still shouldn’t have to, as teams should be required to pay the minimum wage. That seems straightforward. More importantly, a lot more players make significantly less than that on their signing bonus, with a good number of them making around $10,000. Trying to live on less than the minimum wage for a four-year minor-league career simply isn’t possible for some of these guys. Even putting aside the moral need to increase the pay (which shouldn’t need to be done, of course), it makes sense from a business perspective to increase pay. Better compensated minor leaguers lead to healthier and happier minor leaguers, and in turn it means players more likely to make it to the big leagues.
The issue has been that no team has been willing to step out of line with the rest of the league. There’s nothing in the rules stating that teams have to pay their minor leaguers so poorly, but nobody has bucked the trend. On Sunday, the Blue Jays announced they are taking a small step in the right direction. Ben Cherington’s new team has announced they’ll increase pay for all minor leaguers by 50 percent. Now, this is not a huge jump and a lot of players will still be making less than a living wage. More needs to be done. Still, this is an unprecedented step, and hopefully it will be the decision that needed to be made before the floodgates open. Something tells me the league office will fight teams trying to do more than this, but all it takes is one team realizing what needs to be done. Good on the Blue Jays for at least getting the movement started in the right direction.