Despite its incredible profitability, Major League Baseball is not without its glaring flaws. The league is trying to address some of the on-field problems with its recent flurry of minor rule changes, but perhaps its biggest issue is the way minor leaguers are treated.
Unless you’re a top draft pick or highly-touted international signing, pursuing an MLB dream means a great deal of financial hardship. Despite the fact the sport is awash with revenue, teams have long suppressed the wages of minor leaguers, essentially because they can. It’s a brutal system, and one that teams have actively lobbied to keep in place.
It appears the Toronto Blue Jays are taking a step towards fair treatment for their players who have yet to reach the highest level, though. Ken Rosenthal and Emily Waldon of The Athletic are reporting that the club is “in the process of finalizing a pay increase of more than 50 percent for any player who is on a roster of an affiliated minor-league club.”
Jays vice president of baseball operations Ben Cherington told The Athletic the following:
It puts us right now up at the top of the scale in the industry. My hope is it doesn’t stay that way. My hope is other teams eventually do the same.
There’s certainly room for a little skepticism until this deal is done, and it’s worth wondering if the how much the desire for an elusive public relations win played a role in all of this. At the end of the day the reason doesn’t matter, however, and the Blue Jays should be commended for attempting to improve the lives of some of their players who need the help. There’s probably an argument to be made that 50 percent doesn’t even go far enough, but it’s certainly a start.
With any luck, as Cherington says, the Blue Jays not only give their minor leaguers some financial relief, but inspire other teams to do the same.
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