Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Giants will offer their minor league players a pay raise as well as housing allowance. They will join the Blue Jays as the only teams to willingly go above and beyond to increase the pay and improve the living conditions for players in their system.
This also comes on the heels of Major League Baseball’s plan to marginally increase the pay for minor leaguers beginning in 2021. That plan will see the following raises:
- Rookie and short-season: Up to $400 from $290
- Single-A: Up to $500 from $290
- Double-A: Up to $600 from $350
- Triple-A: Up to $700 from $502
Those raises for the Giants will be as follows:
- Rookie and short-season: Up to $400, free housing
- Single-A: Up to $500, matched with host families
- Double-A: Up to $600 plus $500 per month housing allowance
- Triple-A: Up to $750 plus $500 per month housing allowance
As you can see, aside from Triple-A and the housing allowance, the pay raises are the same, but they are being enacted a year ahead of schedule. MLB’s plan does not include assistance for housing.
Kudos to the Giants for going above and beyond to take care of their minor leaguers. That being said, it still does not guarantee them a living wage and a high standard of living. Giants Triple-A players will still only earn about $15,000 per season. Minor leaguers don’t get paid for spring training or during the offseason, when they often take temporary jobs such as giving baseball instruction, rideshare driving, and bartending. The $500-per-month housing assistance helps. Rather than living with, say, eight people in a three-bedroom apartment, minor leaguers may now be able to get away with four or five.
While it is nice to see teams like the Blue Jays and Giants going out of their way, real, meaningful change will have to come from unionized pressure. Minor league players do not have a union and thus have not had the leverage to fight for labor protections. It might be high time the MLBPA bought a bigger umbrella.