Stepping up improvements for minor leaguers after widespread criticism, Major League Baseball’s new housing policy will require teams to provide furnished accommodations, with no more than two players per bedroom and housing “located at a reasonable, commutable distance from the ballpark,” with teams being responsible for basic utility bills, the league announced on Thursday.
Major League Baseball estimates the policy will apply to 90 percent of minor league players. The exemptions are to players with minor league contracts earning $100,000 or more or to players with major league contracts who are on optional or outright assignment to the minor leagues. Players will retain the right to opt out of club-provided housing.
“To the extent that apartments, rental homes or host families are not feasible,” MLB said, “clubs may choose to provide hotel rooms that satisfy standards put in place.”
“The owners went into our first season modernizing the player development system focused on addressing longstanding issues that have impacted Minor League players for decades,” said Morgan Sword, MLB’s executive vice president of baseball operations. “Owners knew that a change of this scale always meant that more work would need to be done to achieve our shared goals. This step forward recognizes that the unprecedented nature of the past two years has further exacerbated affordable housing challenges across the country that existed before the pandemic. The owners are confident that this investment will help ensure that Minor League players have every opportunity to achieve their dreams of becoming Major Leaguers.”
The announcement comes one year after Major League Baseball took over operation of the minor leagues and cut 42 affiliate markets. There are four affiliates per big league team with one in Triple-A, Double-A, High-A and Low-A. Additional clubs are allowed at spring training complexes and in the Dominican Republic. After successfully lobbying Congress to exempt minor leaguers from federal minimum wage laws, MLB raised wages in 2021 from a one-season minor leagues absence caused by the pandemic. The minor league minimum was $46,600 last season for a player signing his first major league contract and $93,000 for a player signing a second or later major league contract. For players in the major leagues, the minimum was $570,500.