ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 16:  Umpire Larry Vanover calls a strike as the Tampa Bay Rays play against the Texas Rangers September 16, 2013 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Rays won 6 - 2. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
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Minor league umps make more, get a higher per diem than the players

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Minor league umpires have a union and just negotiated a new contract to cover the next five years. In addition to some quality of life things such as hotels with interior access (i.e. no Motel 6s) and family leave, they’re getting pay raises:

The minimum monthly salary for rookie and short-season Class A umpires, which had started at $1,900 under the previous five-year agreement, will rise to $2,000 under the new deal and increase to as much as $2,300 for a fourth-year umpire.

For full-season Class A, the minimum rises from $2,000 to $2,100 and increases to $2,600 by a seventh season. At Double-A, the minimum goes up from $2,300 to $2,500 and rises to $3,100 by a ninth season. At Triple-A, it goes up from $2,600 to $2,900 and rises to $3,900 by a 14th season.

As Ben Badler of Baseball America notes, this is a better deal than minor league players get. Monthly salaries for non-40 man roster players are $1,150 for the short season teams, $1,300 for low A and $1,500 for high A. For players repeating a year at the same level, the salary goes up $50 each year. For AA, the monthly salary is $1,700 and it goes up $100 per month for subsequent years. For AAA, the monthly salary is $2,150 per month and it goes up to $2,400 the second year and $2700 the third year.

Pays to have a union, kids.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.

Royals sign Danny Duffy to a five-year, $65 million contract extension

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 02:  Starting pitcher Danny Duffy #41 of the Kansas City Royals pitches during the game against the Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium on September 2, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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The Kansas City Royals have signed starter Danny Duffy to a five-year, $65 million contract extension.

Duffy was arbitration eligible this offseason and would’ve been a free agent next winter if he hadn’t signed the deal. Given his stuff he might’ve made a mint as a free agent, but he’s also been inconsistent at times and any pitcher is an injury away from losing a payday, making this a nice, lucrative bet for the lefty.

Duffy, 28, posted a 3.51 ERA and a 188/42 K/BB ratio across 179.2 innings in 2016.