Rob Manfred claims smaller leagues earn a living

Rob Manfred claims smaller leagues earn a living

Rob Manfred

Rob Manfred
Photo: Getty pictures

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, a man who earns $ 17.5 million a year, asked smaller leagues to shut up and be grateful this week amid calls to live on a salary for professional players who have not yet been named.

Ok, he did not put it that way, but he told reporters that he “in a way rejects the premise of the question that smaller league players do not get a salary to live on.”

In 2021, smaller league salaries were raised so that smaller leagues now earn between $ 400 and $ 700 a week along with housing provided. Before the increase, they earned between $ 290 and $ 502 a week without housing. Minor league players only get paid during the regular season – no spring training, no off-season games, and no offseason training sessions – which means they will typically earn between $ 4800 and $ 14700 on the sport each year. Players are paid by their affiliated team, not the league as a whole, but the league sets the minimum wage.

MLB classifies them as seasonal workers, which means that they can be paid below the minimum wage. It is clear that most people need second and third jobs to supplement this income, but it can be a real challenge to work around a full-time battle plan during the season while retaining other forms of employment.

All of this comes in the context of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s decision to investigate MLB’s almost total antitrust exemption, which other major sports leagues do not enjoy, but which they have had for a century. The committee analyzes whether the exception should apply to MLB’s relations with the smaller leagues.

Manfred continued, “I think we have made real progress in recent years in terms of what minor league players get paid. Even setting aside the signing bonuses that many of them have received, they have been given housing, which is obviously “another form of compensation, so I just reject the premise of the question. I reject the premise that they do not get a living wage.”

Sorry, Rob, but what would you like to know about a living wage? While some of the best players get pleasant signing bonuses, your regular guy is nowhere near making ends meet with a signing bonus worth a few thousand kroner. It does not exactly help his case that last week MLB decided a federal class action lawsuit filed by minor league players in 2014 that accused the league of violating minimum wage and overtime laws in California, Arizona and Florida. The league pays out $ 185 millionand they also told the teams that smaller leagues now got (not required) to be paid during the spring training.

Actors in majors are in fact not covered by the antitrust exception because they are protected by the players’ association and operate under a collective agreement. Smaller leagues do not have a union, and are therefore subject to the whims of Congress and the clearly unreachable commissioner.

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