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Blue Jays to raise minor league pay by 50 percent

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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.

 

Padres are giving Ron Washington a second interview

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Last week there was a report that the San Diego Padres were doing “due diligence” on former Rangers manager and current Braves third base coach Ron Washington in connection with their managerial opening. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports today that Washington has already had an interview and that, in fact, the Padres are planning to call him back for a second round.

Also getting a second look: Rangers field coordinator Jayce Tingler. Which suggests that GM A.J. Preller, formerly a Rangers assistant GM, is favoring guys he knows from his time in Texas.

Washington managed the Texas Rangers from 2007 into 2014, winning two pennants and compiling a record of 664-611 (.521). He stepped down for personal reasons but since then has returned to the job in which he made his considerable reputation: coaching, specifically coaching infielders, and has gotten rave reviews. Assuming he’s back up for the grind of managing — and he wouldn’t be interviewing if he was not — he is definitely someone based on results and reputation who deserves another shot at the helm.

Tingler, a former Rangers farm hand, has coached in their organization at both the minor and major league levels for 12 years.