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Players union, MLB reach tentative MiLB CBA deal

MiLBThis wasn’t a tension-filled and heavily contested series of negotiations, we’re told, as the new minor league players union and MLB reached a tentative deal on a five-year MiLB CBA, subject to player and MLB owner approval.

Though there were a wide range of topics discussed, we’re told the three areas generating the most discussion were salaries (natch); a more specific and generous housing plan, building off 2022’s debut of MLB-supplied housing; and more player input on their medical issues, including an appeal system for second opinions. We’ll cover each.

Player salaries will go up based on level of play and experience level:

  • Complex team: $4,800-$19,800
  • Single-A: $11,000-$26,200
  • High-A: $11,000-$27,300
  • Double-A: $13,800-$30,250
  • Triple-A: $17,500-$35,800

Speaking of training complex teams–the so-called chain-link leagues in Florida and Arizona–we’ve been told they will bear the brunt of player cutbacks in minor-league systems. The maximum Domestic Reserve List, which covers players in the farm system, will go down from 180 players to 165 players in 2024. Those cutbacks are planned to mainly impact chain-link teams, not the upper four MiLB levels. (This has been reported as a ban on contraction. Individual MiLB teams may be eliminated if they do not meet facility standards and replaced, with facility upgrades due in 2025; the CBA clause guarantees the jobs, not existing teams, and we may see some organizations scale back from two to one chain-link team come 2024. There’s some debate about the effectiveness of chain-link leagues as a development platform; it’s one thing to head to a back lot and tear it up; it’s another to deliver under the lights before a huge, hostile crowd.) 

The housing rules will provide uniformity across the industry; MLB teams were mandated to provide player housing beginning in 2022, but without hard and fast guidelines, implementations were all over the map. Basically, putting up players two to a single hotel room will go to the wayside at Triple-A and Double-A; players at those levels will receive their own bedrooms, while players with spouses and children will receive their own housing. (No word on whether this also covers unmarried couples with children. We hope this potential eventuality was addressed; MiLB really isn’t the body to play morality police.)

The third leg of the major issues covers medical care, giving players more control of their treatment. A second opinion will be provided in an appeals prices, and medical expenses for treatment will be extended if needed

We expect an announcement as soon as Friday about ratification of the deal by players and MLB owners; MiLB owners will be briefed next week about housing implementations on their level.

Though this was a coincidence, a settlement reached last May between MiLB players and MLB was finally approved by the court, paving the way for certain MiLB players to receive back pay based on minimum-wage standards. The settlement doesn’t cover every MiLB player, however; the settlement covered minor-league players playing in the California League and attending spring training, extended spring training and instructional league play in Arizona and Florida.

RELATED STORIES: MiLB unionization, new CBA could happen as soon as 2023 seasonMLBPA affiliating with AFL-CIO in MiLB player pursuitMLBPA announces initiative to unionize Minor League Baseball players

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