In March U.S. District Judge Joseph C. Spero rules minor-league players playing in the California League and attending spring training, extended spring training and instructional league play in Arizona and Florida were subject to back pay. In addition, he ruled that MiLB players are full-time employees “throughout the calendar year,” with MLB teams liable for $1,882,650 in penalties generated because of incomplete record-keeping. In addition, he ruled under California law that travel time must count as payable time for California League players, as well as spring training in both Florida and Arizona under certain circumstances (i.e., if players were required to participate in scheduled activities before traveling). This decision came after pre-trial motions; a trial date was set for June 1.
That the two sides reached a settlement isn’t a surprise; most cases like this settle out because it’s cheaper than a full-blown trial, and that was our prediction. Terms of the settlement were not released.
The impact probably will not as serious as others outside the industry assume: the case applied to only three states (California, Arizona and Florida) and under some very specific circumstances. Since the case was filed MLB increased pay for minor leaguers and picked up housing costs for players. There is likely no direct impact upon MiLB teams: players remain under control of MLB teams in every respect, and while MiLB owners always growl about MLB parents pushing new costs onto them, it’s hard to see MLB teams directly pass along settlement costs.
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