LOS ANGELES — Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday he “rejects”[s] the premise” that minor league players do not receive a living wage, sparking a barrage of criticism a day after the Senate Judiciary Committee inquired in a letter about the league’s treatment of minor leaguers.
When asked if owners can’t afford to pay minor leaguers more or just choose not to, Manfred said, “I reject the premise of the question that minor league players don’t get a living wage. made real progress in the last few years in terms of what minor league players get paid even apart from the signing bonuses many of them have already received they get housing which is of course another form of compensation i just reject the premise of the question I don’t know what else to say about that.”
In a follow-up, Manfred reiterated, “I reject the premise that they don’t get a living wage.”
While minor league salaries have risen 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 not on the 40-man roster or with major league experience receive between $4,800 and $14,700 annually and are paid in-season only, forcing many to supplement their off-season income as they try to fit in. prepare for the following year.
“Most minor league baseball players have second jobs because their annual salaries aren’t enough to make ends meet,” said Harry Marino, director of Advocates for Minor Leaguers. “The commissioner earns an annual salary of $17.5 million. His suggestion that the minor league payment is acceptable is both insensitive and incorrect.”
Earlier this week, MLB settled for $185 million in a class-action lawsuit by minor leaguers alleging teams had violated minimum wages and overtime. The settlement, which affects more than 20,000 players, will distribute more than $120 million across the group and calls on MLB to allow teams to pay minor league players in spring training, extended spring training and in educational leagues.
The letter from the judiciary’s leadership to Manfred on Monday questioned the need for the league’s age-old antitrust exemption, particularly with regard to the minor leagues. It also delved into corruption in Latin America, a pertinent issue with a July 25 deadline for MLB and the MLB Players Association to agree on a framework for an international draft.