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Giants to offer minor leaguers pay raise, housing allowance

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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.

Giants name Johnny Cueto Opening Day starter vs. Dodgers

Johnny Cueto Opening Day
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Giants manager Gabe Kapler confirmed on Tuesday that veteran Johnny Cueto be the Opening Day starter against the Dodgers in L.A. on July 23, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. Cueto will start opposite Clayton Kershaw. Kapler tabbed Cueto originally for the Opening Day start back in March, but that was for a 162-game season and before the league shut down due to the pandemic.

Cueto, 34, is making his fifth career Opening Day start. The previous four he made came in 2012-15 with the Reds. Madison Bumgarner started five of the previous six Opening Days for the Giants, but he’s now a member of the Diamondbacks.

Cueto underwent Tommy John surgery in 2018 and didn’t return to action until September last season. Across 16 innings spanning four starts, the right-hander allowed nine earned runs on 11 hits and nine walks with 13 strikeouts. The Giants are hoping Cueto can return to 2016 form when we was an All-Star, finishing 18-5 with a 2.79 ERA over 219 2/3 innings.

The Giants will have their hands full with the Dodgers to open the season. Last year, the Dodgers won 106 games while the Giants won 77. The recently-released PECOTA standings from Baseball Prospectus sees the Dodgers going 39-21 and finishing first while the Giants are projected to go 25-35 and finish in last place.