As a continuation of their commitment to a first-class player development system, Major League Baseball’s owners today announced a new Minor League Housing Policy that is expected to provide more than 90% of assigned Minor League players across every level with furnished housing accommodations at each Major League Club’s expense beginning with the 2022 season. The Minor League Housing Policy is designed to provide Minor League players, with limited exceptions (i.e., players with existing Major League Uniform Player Contracts (“UPC”) or those scheduled to earn six-figure Minor League salaries over a full season), with housing while they are playing or practicing at any PDL level (i.e., Triple-A, Double-A, High-A, Low-A) or Spring Training Complex (e.g., Extended Spring Training, Arizona Complex League, etc.) under their Minor League UPC.
This program is the next phase of MLB owners’ dedication to addressing longstanding issues that have impacted Minor League players. The completed 2021 season, which was the first to take place under the new model for player development announced this past February, saw increased salaries, improved facilities and reduced in-season travel as initial steps.
The 2021 Minor League season saw teams successfully return to the field, while implementing new features that have benefited players and fans. In modernizing the player development system, MLB sought to better serve fans, players and Clubs and to preserve high-level, sustainable baseball in communities all across America and position the sport for growth in future years. Working with Major and Minor League Club officials, coaches, players, and local leaders, MLB has made significant progress towards these goals.
“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. As part of the new system, owners increased salaries from 38-72% for 2021, improved facilities, provided more amenities and better clubhouse conditions, removed all clubhouse dues, and reduced in-season travel with better geographical alignment,” 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.”
During the 2021 season, Clubs provided some housing assistance to players at the PDL and Spring Training Complex levels. The new 2022 program will be all-encompassing.
To be compliant with the 2022 Minor League Housing Policy, Clubs must provide housing accommodation options located at a reasonable, commutable distance from the ballpark.
Bedrooms must contain a single bed per player, and there shall be no more than two players per bedroom at all PDL levels.
Accommodations must be furnished, and Clubs will be responsible for basic utility bills at Club-provided living arrangements.
To the extent that apartments, rental homes, or host families are not feasible at a PDL level, Clubs may choose to provide hotel rooms that satisfy standards put in place.
The Housing Policy will only apply to players under a Minor League UPC.
Players shall be entitled to receive housing accommodations any time they are directed to report but will always retain the right to opt out of the Club-provided housing.
Highlights of the first phase of improvements for Minor League players made in the 2021 season include:
· An improved environment to promote overall player health and development, including increased minimum salaries between 38-72%, fewer total miles and hours spent traveling, more frequent off days to improve rest and recovery, and new standards for facilities and clubhouse amenities.
· Major League Clubs over 200 miles closer to their affiliates, reducing the need for call-ups to take cross-country flights, and allowing more fans to watch an organization’s players progress in their careers from the Minor Leagues to the big leagues in their home region.
· The opening of six new ballparks that are already setting attendance records, introducing fan-friendly innovations, and spurring business development in their communities.
· Establishing more ways for fans to engage with the stars of tomorrow, such as hosting the MLB Draft at the All-Star Game, more promotion of the Minor Leagues and Partner Leagues on MLB Network and MLB.com, and having almost 100 Clubs broadcast daily on MiLB.tv, resulting in a 40% increase in MiLB.TV subscriptions.
· Testing of new playing rule changes that have brought more action and excitement to the game.