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Minor League Baseball Makes Labor History With Breakthrough CBA

Last Updated: July 1, 2023
Get all the key facts you need to know about the groundbreaking collective bargaining agreement, from player pay to quality of life to new roster rules.

Major League Baseball and minor league players reached a tentative agreement on a first-ever collective bargaining agreement between the parties less than a year after MiLB players won a long-overdue battle to form a union, landing under the Major League Baseball Players Association umbrella.

Last year, MLB settled with minor leaguers for $185 million on a lawsuit alleging that players were being paid below minimum wage. For decades, minor league players weren’t paid what anyone would reasonably consider a living wage, forcing them to work offseason jobs rather than work on their craft. Many simply could not afford stable housing, something MLB only guaranteed to these players in 2022.

All told, this five-year deal more than doubles player salaries and provides a slew of player rights that finally brings them into the 21st century.

Here’s how player salaries will now increase, with further incremental raises guaranteed for 2025, 2026, and 2027.

  • Rookie-level leagues: $4,800 to $19,800
  • Class-A: $11,000 to $26,200
  • Class-A Advanced: $11,000 to $27,300
  • Double-A: $13,800 to $30,250
  • Triple-A: $17,500 to $35,800
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Offseason training will now be divided into agreed-upon periods. Fall training lasts from the end of the season until the Friday before Thanksgiving, and then there’s a dead period through Jan. 1. The winter training period then lasts from Jan. 2 until MLB Spring Training. During these periods, players will be paid one rate at home, and more — increasing the salaries listed above — if they’re asked to report to a complex for instructional league play or other purposes.

Triple-A and Double-A players are now guaranteed their own bedrooms at home — yes, they were not guaranteed this before! — while Single-A and Single-A Advanced players will either receive a bedroom or opt out and receive a stipend instead. Players’ spouses and children will be placed in club-provided housing. In turn, Major League Baseball will now get to lower the total number of players it has to keep each year on its MiLB rosters, known as the Domestic Reserve List.

Additional details from this expansive, groundbreaking minor league CBA:

  • Players who sign at 19 years or older will be under club reserve for six years instead of seven, though current MiLB players are not grandfathered in. This allows college players to reach free agency at an earlier age.
  • Players will receive their individual NIL rights, previously controlled by the league, while the MLBPA will lead group licensing.
  • Players at levels below Double-A are now guaranteed transportation to and from the field.
  • Players will get an increased per diem and a joint committee to improve clubhouse nutrition and meal quality.
  • There’s now a joint drug agreement and a uniform domestic violence policy. Players in some circumstances will now have the right to a 2nd opinion with medical issues as well as a longer period in which post-injury expenses will be covered.
  • After MLB cut the amount of MiLB teams from 160 to 120 for the 2021 season, MLB agreed not to have further team cuts throughout the life of the CBA. There will also be no strikes or lockouts through the 2027 season.

After a period of many decades where Minor League players weren’t treated properly, this new CBA represents a start as we hit opening day. Now let’s play ball!

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About The Author
Shlomo Sprung
Shlomo Sprung
Shlomo Sprung is a Senior Staff Writer at Boardroom. He has more than a decade of experience in journalism, with past work appearing in Forbes, MLB.com, Awful Announcing, and The Sporting News. He graduated from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 2011, and his Twitter and Spotify addictions are well under control. Just ask him.