Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports that the Cubs will raise the minimum salaries for their minor league players by at least 50 percent beginning this year. They join the Blue Jays and Giants as teams to willingly offer raises to players in their minor league systems. On Sunday, we learned that the league plans to raise salaries for minor leaguers between 38 and 72 percent beginning in 2021.
Per Gonzales, the average player in the Cubs’ system will see an extra $200 per week. Players below Double-A will see the largest percentage increase in pay, approximately 75 percent.
Minor leaguers are paid less than minimum wage and are only paid during the regular season; they are not paid during the offseason or during spring training. A 50 to 75 percent increase in pay sounds like a lot, but not when the base amount is so small. The Cubs offering raises is a step in the right direction, but their minor leaguers’ pay still can not be considered a livable wage.
Michael Kopech has opted out of the 2020 season. The White Sox starter informed the team of his decision today, and the team issued a press release to that affect a few minutes ago.
The statement from general manager Rick Hahn. said “we recognize that reaching this decision is incredibly difficult for any competitive athlete, and our organization is understanding and supportive. We will work with Michael to assure his development continues throughout 2020, and we look forward to welcoming him back into our clubhouse for the 2021 season.”
Kopech, 24, has only four big league starts under his belt, all coming in late August and early September of 2018, but after a strong spring training he was likely to make Chicago’s rotation at some point in the 2020 season after sitting out all of 2019 following Tommy John surgery. Kopech was among the players sent to Chicago from the Red Sox in the Chris Sale trade back in December 2016. Others involved in the deal included Yoán Moncada, Victor Diaz, and Luis Alexander Basabe.
Now, however, Kopech has opted out.