Royals’ reliever Jeremy Jeffress was arrested in January following a domestic dispute

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According to the Associated Press, Royals right-hander Jeremy Jeffress was arrested last month in Arizona following a domestic dispute with his girlfriend. Jeffress, who was acquired from the Brewers last offseason as part of the Zack Greinke trade, was booked for assault, criminal damage and disorderly conduct.

The first two charges were dismissed, but Jeffress was sentenced to serve 20 hours of community service for the disorderly conduct charge and required to attend a domestic violence counseling class.

Jeffress apologized for his actions via a statement from the Royals after the arrest was made public earlier today:

“There was an argument between myself and my girlfriend and I lost my temper, but I never put my hands on her.”

“There are consequences in what you do or say. I’ve disappointed my family and the name on the back of my jersey. I just want to make it clear this is not me.”

It’s not clear if he’ll face any discipline from the Royals, but general manager Dayton Moore said, “we stand behind Jeremy at this point based on the information we have received.” On an unrelated note, Jeffress was suspended twice during his time as a Brewers’ farmhand for testing positive for marijuana.

Jeffress, 24, made the Royals’ Opening Day roster last year, but was sent down to the minors in May after posting a 4.70 ERA and 13/11 K/BB ratio over 15 1/3 innings. The hard-throwing reliever wasn’t any better following his demotion, compiling a 5.50 ERA and 44/40 K/BB ratio over 55 2/3 innings between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha. The Royals have plenty of quality bullpen depth right now, so it’s probably best that Jeffress continues to work on his command in the minors.

MLB now trying to get minor leaguers exempted from minimum wage law at the state level

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In recent years, Major League Baseball spent significant amounts of money lobbying Congress to exempt minor leaguers from the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. They succeeded last year, as minor leaguers are now considered seasonal workers and as such are not owed minimum wage or overtime pay.

MLB is not yet done attacking minor leaguers. Ben Giles of the Arizona Capitol Times reports that MLB is trying to get Arizona lawmakers to exempt players from state minimum wage law. A proposed bill, HB 2180, is being sponsored by Rep. T.J. Shope (R – Coolidge) and would protect MLB from lawsuits, past or present, for not paying minor leaguers at least minimum wage during spring training. Minor leaguers already do not get paid for their work in spring training, so this is simply a preemptive maneuver by MLB to protect itself from potential lawsuits. As Giles notes, HB 2180 would enshrine the exemption in federal law in Arizona’s state statute.

Shope said, “I think it’s just trying to clear up what MLB considers a gray area on their blank. … My assumption is they obviously do have a concern, and are trying to protect a flank of theirs more in the pro-active sense.” Talking about minor leaguers, Shope said spring training is “essentially a tryout. You’re not on the team yet.”

Garrett Broshuis, a former major leaguer and one of the lawyers representing Aaron Senne, Michael Liberto, and Oliver Odle in a case Craig wrote about here, spoke to Giles for his article. Broshuis said, “It really is just unfortunate, because the people of Arizona passed this law to require employers to pay all workers a minimum wage, and these ballplayers are performing a service that is a valuable service, and they deserve to be compensated at least the minimum wage for it.”

Broshuis is seeking class action status in a lawsuit against Major League Baseball in Florida and Arizona, the league’s two homes for spring training. Arizona is home to the Cactus League, the spring training league for the Angels, Diamondbacks, Cubs, Reds, Indians, Rockies, White Sox, Royals, Dodgers, Brewers, Athletics, Padres, Giants, Mariners, and Rangers. A federal judge denied Broshuis’s request but he appealed and is waiting on a ruling.

MLB makes a ton of money during spring training the same way it makes money during the regular season: by charging for tickets, concessions, merchandise, and parking. Minor leaguers are part of the player population helping attract fans to the ballpark, so they deserve to be compensated for their work. That they are not is criminal enough, but to brazenly push legislation to remove any legal remedies they might have had is even more evil. MLB has been setting revenue records year over year, taking in more than $10 billion last year. The league and its individual teams can afford to provide a comfortable life for minor leaguers, but every day it makes the choice not to do so out of avarice.