Rob Manfred adamant MLB has ‘made real progress in recent years’ in paying minor leaguers

LOS ANGELES — Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday he “rejects[s] the premise “that minor league players don’t get a living wage, sparking a barrage of criticism a day after the Senate Judiciary Committee in a letter inquired about the league’s treatment of minor leaguers.

When asked if the owners couldn’t afford to pay the minor leaguers more or if they just chose not to, Manfred said: “I sort of reject the premise of the question that the minor league players aren’t getting a living wage We’ve made real progress in recent years in terms of paying minor league players, even putting aside the signing bonuses many of them have already received . They get housing, which is obviously another form of compensation. I just reject the premise of the question. I don’t know what else to say about it.”

In a follow-up, Manfred reiterated, “I reject the premise that they don’t get a living wage.”

While minor league salaries have increased in recent seasons and teams are mandated to provide housing for the first time this year, the majority of minor league player salaries are below the poverty line. Players who aren’t on the 40-player roster or don’t have major league experience receive between $4,800 and $14,700 a year and are only paid in season, leaving plenty to supplement their income during the off-season while trying to prepare for the following year.

“Most minor league baseball players work second jobs because their annual salary is insufficient to make ends meet,” said Harry Marino, executive director of Advocates for Minor Leaguers. “The commissioner is on an annual salary of $17.5 million. His suggestion that the minor league salary is acceptable is both callous and false.”

Earlier this week, MLB settled a $185 million class action lawsuit brought by minor leaguers that alleged minimum wage and overtime violations by teams. The settlement, which covers more than 20,000 players, will distribute more than $120 million across the group and asks MLB to allow teams to pay minor league players during spring training, spring training prolonged and in the instruction leagues.

The judicial leadership’s letter to Manfred on Monday questioned the need for the league’s century-old antitrust exemption, particularly as it relates to the minor leagues. Additionally, he looked at corruption in Latin America, a relevant issue with a July 25 deadline for MLB and the MLB Players Association to agree on a framework for an international draft. .

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