San Francisco Giants reliever Tyler Cyr is fighting to make it to the majors. After being selected in the 10th round of the 2015 Major League Baseball draft, Cyr worked his way up to Triple-A in 2019.
While Cyr has moved closer to his dream every season, those minor-league promotions haven’t come with big pay increases. To show just how little minor-league baseball players make per season, Cyr posted a picture of his paycheck on Twitter on Monday.
Cyr felt compelled to post that picture after seeing a tweet about Minnesota Twins reliever Randy Dobnak. The 24-year-old Dobnak caught national attention after pitching against the New York Yankees in the American League Division Series. During spring training — before he had reached the majors — Dobnak drove an Uber to make ends.
The 26-year-old Cyr said he wasn’t sure whether Dobnak’s story should be viewed as “cool or embarrassing.” Cyr tagged both @MLB and @MiLB in his tweet to get the point across. That inspired him to post a thread about minor-league pay.
Cyr began the thread by earnestly saying he was “extremely grateful” to be a part of the Giants. He then posted the picture of his paycheck. That was followed by Cyr saying he’s actually had to pay to play baseball every season since he was drafted.
Cyr then posted the jobs he’s held during the offseason, which include landscaping, working at Lululemon and serving food. Cyr then says he knows there are others out there who aren’t as fortunate as him. He knows he’s lucky to be in this position, even if it’s not ideal.
To cap it all off, Cyr posts a screenshot of an article from 2015 that boasts MLB is worth $36 billion.
MLB has lobbied to keep minor-league pay low. Minor leaguers are considered seasonal employees or apprentices. That designation allows teams to pay minor leaguers less than the minimum wage. Some minor leaguers have attempted to challenge that system, suing MLB for wage discrimination. That lawsuit, which was originally filed in 2014, is still being sorted out.
While MLB players are protected by the MLB Players Association, minor leaguers are not part of the union. It’s unclear whether that will change when the current collective-bargaining agreement ends following the 2020 season.
There have been rumblings a strike could occur, as MLB players haven’t been happy with the way free agency has gone in recent seasons. Given that, and a number of other issues MLB players may want to change, minor league players like Cyr could find themselves getting left behind once again in negotiations.
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