For the first time minor league players, now represented by the MLBPA, have guarantees under a collective bargaining agreement. It runs for 5 years (through the 2027 season).
Minimum annual salaries will be..rise from $19,800 at rookie ball (up from $4800) $26,200 at Single-A and $27,300 at High-A (up from $11k at both levels), $27,300 at AA (up from $13k) and $35,800 at AAA (up from $17.5k). Players will be paid in the offseason for the first time, too. They will get $625 weekly for spring training and offseason training camp and $250 weekly for offseason workouts at home. Also, those who sign for the first time at 19 or older can become minor league free agents after six seasons instead of seven.
Housing, or a stipend, will be provided. AA and AAA players get private rooms. Players get fed at training sites as well. There are provisions for married players at AAA level.
MLB agreed not to reduce minor league affiliates from the current 120. Beginning in 2024, teams can have a maximum of 165 players under contract during the season and 175 during the offseason, down from the current 190 and 180.
Players will gain rights to second medical opinions, a 401k plan and arbitration to contest discipline under a just-cause standard. The domestic violence and drug policies will be covered by the union agreement.
The union will take over group licensing, NIL, rights for players.
For me, this is a big deal. In the past, the most highly regarded prospects did okay thanks to their signing bonuses, but the majority of minor leaguers are not “bonus babies.” Gone will be the days of six players on air mattresses in a one bedroom apartment, subsisting on PBJs and baloney. The sweat shop treatment of minor leaguers for too long was a blot on the game. This is much fairer.