Baseball’s biggest problem that nobody knows about

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          This offseason, we have seen MLB teams pay a lot of money for some of the best players in the game. Manny Machado signed a 10-year 300 million dollar deal with San Diego, and Nolan Arenado signed an 8-year 260 million dollar extension with Colorado, and Bryce Harper is expected to sign a deal soon that could be bigger than both. All 3 of these players are fantastic players and deserved to be paid as so, but compared to what their counterparts in the minor leagues are making, it’s a real problem, and one of the reasons why the MLB cant attract stars to their sport.

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Image: MLB network player comparison of Arenado, Harper, and Machado

          In 2018 the average MLB salary was 4.52 million dollars per player whereas in the MILB (Minor League Baseball) the average salary was about 7,500 dollars a year according to Tom Goldman of NPR. Most minor leaguers make less than minimum wage on a year to year bases and are forced to live paycheck to paycheck, split rooms with teammates, or sleeping on couches of host families houses.

 

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Image: USA Today comparing minor league hockey vs minor league baseball

          In fact according to Emily Waldon, writer for the Athletic and reporter for Detroit Tigers minor league teams, salaries for the 2019 MILB season will range from $6,100 for single-A players (pre tax), to $14,850 for triple-A players (pre tax). Just to put that in perspective, the poverty line for a single person household (pre tax) is $14,380. Simply put, almost all minor leagues will be living at or below the poverty line for the 2019 season.

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Image: picture of how much minor leaguers make as apposed to what they spend; photo credit Deadspin

          I believe this is one of the biggest reasons why the MLB does not attract young stars to the game. Think about it, you are a star in college playing for a division 1 school where everything is taken care of for you. You’re playing at some of the best fields in the country and in front of the biggest crowds you have ever played. You get drafted, feeling like you have finally achieved your goal, only to be put on a low level minor league team playing for less than minimum wage to take 12-15 hour bus rides to play a doubleheader in front of maybe 200 people.

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Image: Fans in the bleachers at Pfitzner Stadium; photo credit Jenna West USA today Sports

          The average MLB salary has increased by over 2 million dollars since 2003 and has increased by 2,500% since 1976, while minor league salaries have only gone up 70% since 1976. In Goldmans’ NPR article, he states that MLB organizations have approximately 200 players in their minor league organizations. If teams raised each players salary to just $2000 a month per player, it would cost each team about 4.8million dollars. It’s not too much to ask considering baseball as a sport brought in 10 billions dollars of revenue during the 2018 season.  

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Image: Photo depicting differences for Major leaguers and Minor leaguers

          I think as professional baseball players, minor-leaguers deserve to be making a livable wage and not have to live on the poverty line. There is too much money in the sport to allow its own players to be treated like they are worthless. If the MLB would improve their minor leagues, they wouldn’t lose stars to other sports like they did Kyler Murray to football. Baseball has the money to make things right, now it’s up to someone to step up and make the change. 

 

          Do you agree with my article? Do you think minor leaguers deserve more or less money? Let me know in the comments below and as always, thanks for reading.

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