In news filed under “How the hell has it taken this long?” MLB will reportedly require teams to provide housing for minor league players starting in 2022.
That’s via ESPN’s Jeff Passan, who broke the news here in a piece worth reading.
Amid mounting pressure from players and advocacy groups, Major League Baseball will require teams to provide housing for minor league players starting in 2022, sources told ESPN.
While MLB has yet to outline its plan formally, six team officials told ESPN they are starting to prepare to help house players across each of their four minor league affiliates. In mid-September, according to sources, owners from the league’s 30 teams agreed unanimously to a plan that would provide housing for minor league players. Whether they will offer stipends that fully cover housing or provide the lodging itself has yet to be decided, sources said. An MLB spokesperson said the league is finalizing the details of the plan.
MLB teams have gotten away with what amounts to exploitation of minor league players for decades, and while the housing decision certainly doesn’t fix all of the issues inherent to the minor league system, it should hopefully fix one of the most immediate and important ones.
Housing in the United States in general is absurdly expensive, even in the smaller cities where lower level minor league teams play. Considering minor league salaries, asking players to essentially pay their own way was always crazy, and MLB ownership has had the ability to pay for this sort of thing for as long as they’ve been ignoring that responsibility.
Even in locations with lower rent, minor league players often pile into small apartments and sleep on air mattresses because their wages can’t provide more. Some players say they have spent nights in their cars or at stadiums when they could not afford a hotel. Others have trouble securing apartments, whether because of low income or nonexistent credit, and spent a majority of their paycheck on hotels, where teams’ discounted rates barely lessen the burden.
Passan notes that total cost per team per season would be less than $1 million. Considering the value that teams are putting on prospects and their development, this should have been a no-brainer a long time ago.