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Notes: Cubs to increase Minor League salaries

@MLBastian
February 19, 2020

MESA, Ariz. -- When the Blue Jays increased wages for their Minor League players last season, the Cubs took notice. Now, Chicago is the latest club to join the list of teams moving the pay scale for farmhands in a positive direction. According to a source, the Cubs will increase

MESA, Ariz. -- When the Blue Jays increased wages for their Minor League players last season, the Cubs took notice. Now, Chicago is the latest club to join the list of teams moving the pay scale for farmhands in a positive direction.

According to a source, the Cubs will increase the weekly wages of their Minor League players by roughly 50-60 percent, depending on level and years in professional baseball. Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts drove the decision, which president of baseball operations Theo Epstein hinted was coming during Cubs Convention in January.

"Toronto, I think to their credit, took a great progressive step last year," Epstein said. "They essentially doubled the pay of their Minor League players, just out of fairness and also out of self-interest, too, to give their players a little bit more security, a little bit more comfort, they can feed themselves a little bit better, take care of themselves a little bit better.

"It was, really, I think something that was bold, because everyone in Major League Baseball essentially paid the same rate, and they decided just to voluntarily double it. I can tell you that got our attention. It got Tom's attention."

The Associated Press recently reported that Major League Baseball is planning increased minimum weekly wages (between 38 percent to 72 percent, depending on level), beginning with the 2021 season. The Cubs' changes will go into effect for the '20 campaign, with the average player earning around a $200 per week raise.

The Giants are also increasing their Minor League pay for the 2020 season.

Chicago based its planned increases on the Blue Jays' scale. Depending on the number of years in pro ball, Triple-A players will earn between $677-700 per week, Double-A players will earn between $560-607 per week and the rate for Rookie ball through all Class A levels will be between $467-607 per week. The largest increases will be felt in the lower levels, where the average boost per player below Double-A is around 75 percent.

"I know for a huge percentage of Minor League players, every dollar means a lot," Cubs infielder Nico Hoerner said. "It'll make a difference, at least over the course of those six months. Any change like that is a positive trend and hopefully it becomes a trend throughout baseball and not just with the Cubs."

Worth noting

• Cubs left-hander Kyle Ryan is a ground-ball specialist who showed an ability last season to work multi-inning outings, if needed. Even though he does not feel the new three-batter minimum rule applies to his skill set, he does not feel it will be a dramatic change for relievers overall.

"I don't think it'll be too big of a difference," Ryan said. "I know it will push guys' mentalities and physical abilities to go longer into innings and games. They're just going to have to. I mean, after this rule is done with, there's no more just one-batter guys, unless you're finishing an inning."

• Cubs manager David Ross said he will "definitely" move Kris Bryant around the diamond this spring and in the upcoming season. Bryant's main position will be third, but Ross is not ruling out using him in the outfield. Bryant can also be a backup first baseman. The manager said "we'll see" when asked if Bryant might man center at all.

Bryant becomes Cubs' newest leadoff hitter

"There's a lot of options with him," Ross said. "He's so good and so versatile. He's just got those long strides in the outfield. I love the way he moves around. How things get played out, it's a lot of moving parts when you talk about putting together a team. So, it's not just Kris."

• Right-handers Yu Darvish and Kyle Hendricks each threw a live batting practice session during Wednesday's workout. The Cubs have not yet announced the probable starter for Saturday's Cactus League opener against the A's.

Jordan Bastian covers the Cubs for MLB.com. He previously covered the Indians from 2011-18 and the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian.