Minor league salaries

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  • #117390
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
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    atriple wrote:

    Do the minors pay too little? Economics say they don’t, because they have more supply of young men willing to work for that wage than they have positions to fill.

    That is the logic MLB has used for decades to dodge the law – the minimum wage law that every other business in our country must adhere to. Supply and demand has nothing to do with the law.

    Via several million dollars spent in lobbying, MLB convinced Congress to give them special protection to exempt minor leaguers from being paid fairly, but they have since realized that the court of public opinion is not going to let them get away with it.

    #117392
    Avatarmudville
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    I don’t think it’s as simple as that. I don’t believe it’s about saving money and that’s all. I think it’s about MLB getting their house in order, first, so that they can then bring about the changes that need to happen with regard to pay and accommodations. I think that if they can get something done as soon as possible, they can stem the ongoing litigation before it reaches a jury trial. I find the idea, that it’s all about greed and the only thing anyone can do with greedy people is punish them, to be offensive. BTW, I predict that most of the minor league teams that lose teams will find ways to work things out without the need for lawsuits.

    #117393
    Avataratripleshyofthecycle
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    I suppose that’s why I chose the words that I did. Economics says no. We don’t know what the law says, because it hasn’t been adjudicated yet. It is certainly possible the law says it is illegal.

    I can’t wait until all the do-gooders out there have minor leaguers punching a clock for the 90 total minor league times. Won’t everyone be better off then?

    Like I said, there will be cause and effect here. The law of unintended consequences always strikes when minimum wage laws are tinkered with.

    I’m way past the time where this actually affects me, and I always knew that eventually someone would go on a crusade to “save” minor leaguers from their low wages. A lot of those people will be saved right out of the minor leagues. And, honestly, I can’t say for sure that that isn’t a good thing. But what I can tell you is that there are thousands of young men out there willing to give their dreams a shot for less than what those guys get paid now. That opportunity is going to be taken from them by this crusade. And the people who pushed it will always point the finger at someone else – because that’s just who they are.

    #117394
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
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    mud, the only punishment I have seen suggested is that some members of Congress have threatened to withdraw MLB’s anti-trust protection if they do not stop plans to contract 42 teams. What punishment are you referring to?

    MLB has not proposed any changes in accommodations. They haven’t even agreed to increase salaries, but many observers think they will eventually have to give in.

    How could increasing salary next year stop a lawsuit over back pay from five years ago, for example? The suggested connection does not compute.

    I have a feeling we are not going to see that matter similarly…

    #117395
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
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    atriple, MLB’s revenues are estimated to be $10.7 billion this year. They could easy pay their employees minimum wage if they choose and remain an extremely profitable endeavor – without cutting 42 teams. They can also choose to have fewer employees – but they will face ramifications if they do. They value their antitrust protection. It will be interesting to see if Congress is willing to fight and if MLB will risk a potentially bigger loss.

    #117396
    Avataratripleshyofthecycle
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    People love spending other people’s money.

    Glad you already have your finger pointed.

    #117398
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
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    The direction any of our fingers are allegedly pointing matter none.

    #117400
    Avataratripleshyofthecycle
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    Correct. The basic laws of economics do, though.

    #117409
    AvatarMinuteman3
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    Can anybody tell us what the ramifications of MLB losing their anti-trust exemption would be? I am guessing that it would not be good.

    News for those that didn’t know: The umpires union signed a new contract that includes approval of electronic ball/strike scoring to include the major leagues. The system has been tried in the Atlantic League and in the Arizona Fall League. Anybody have reports of how the AFL worked out with that system?

    #117411
    AvatarCariocaCardinal
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    Are there specific lawsuits already in play that are being referred to in this discussion or just potential lawsuits? If specific can someone cite them?

    #117415
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
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    Of course. I didn’t make it up. The lawsuit that gets the most media attention is a class action lawsuit filed in 2014, Senne v. MLB. Its focus is player wages and protection offered under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

    http://s3.amazonaws.com/cdn.orrick.com/files/Senne-v-MLB.pdf

    Here is an article from a few months ago about the status of that lawsuit.

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2019/08/16/appeals-court-expands-minor-leaguers-salary-lawsuit/39971349/

    There was another lawsuit attacking the antitrust exemption, Miranda v. Selig.

    https://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2017/06/26/15-16938.pdf

    It progressed all the way to the Supreme Court, which refused to hear the case, not because of lack of validity, but because of jurisdiction. Here is a key passage from that ruling.

    Major League Baseball “should not be afforded carte blanche to restrict the pay and mobility of minor league players without answering to the federal antitrust laws that apply to the employment of major league baseball players…”, though the court held such arguments to be within the province of Congress, rather than the judiciary.

    This is likely one reason why MLB then pushed the Save Americas Pastime act through Congress and why current congressional involvement matters.

    (Here is the link to the article from which the above was snipped.)

    MLB’s antitrust protection governing player contacts was broken in the Curt Flood case, but only for major leaguers. It did not apply to minor leaguers because they have no representation.

    Here is an extract from an article about that.

    “The preservation of the antitrust exemption for minor-league teams has significant ramifications for minor leaguers. It means teams can promote, demote, or waive a player for any number of reasons, from performance to injury to attitude. It depresses salaries by tamping down competition and prevents players from testing the waters elsewhere, whether with an unaffiliated league in the U.S. or abroad. And it allows teams to include a contractual provision called a “clawback,” with which a team can rescind a player’s signing bonus should he choose to retire before fulfilling his contract.”

    After SAPA, MLB then lobbied for a bill in Arizona to exempt minor leaguers from that state’s minimum wage law, because state wage laws supersede federal law and minimum wage in Arizona is $11 per hour, going up to $12 next month. In August, a federal appeals court ruled against this, allowing Arizona to be included in the Senne v. MLB class action, which also includes Florida.

    This is important because all training camps are in one of the two states and players are not paid for them. It appears a key issue is that MLB is arguing that spring training and other camps like instructional camps are voluntary. The court disagreed.

    https://fronterasdesk.org/content/1121816/minor-league-players-must-be-paid-spring-training-says-federal-appeals-court

    I will stop there for now…

    #117416
    Avataratripleshyofthecycle
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    The system has been tried in the Atlantic League and in the Arizona Fall League. Anybody have reports of how the AFL worked out with that system?

    Generally, I think they liked it. Specifically, the feedback was that it was excellent on the inside and outside corners. There was some negative feedback on big curve balls at the top and bottom of the zone – this is likely due to the fact that umps have been getting those wrong for ages, and an adjustment will be needed (but this is pure speculation on my part).

    #117417
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
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    Just a heads up that there is a separate topic running about the new umpiring agreement.

    #117422
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
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    This article is particularly relevant considering how the proposal to cut 42 teams and the movement to pay players fairly was turned here into a scolding for spending other peoples’ money. The author discusses MLB’s growing wealth, asking readers to not let themselves be insulted by MLB’s claims of poverty. He closes by drawing a parallel to his parent $1 billion media company firing underpaid writers and he resigns in support of them.

    #117424
    Avataratripleshyofthecycle
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    So if you are wealthy, you owe that wealth to others?

    I’m not of the mind that MLB owners aren’t massively wealthy or that MLB is not making money hand over fist.

    But there is a cost/benefit analysis in everything. And if you drive the cost of minor league players up by 500%, then that analysis is going to change massively.

    I realize that in Utopia these things don’t happen and everyone can be a millionaire, but that isn’t the world we live in.

    #117438
    Avatargscottar
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    I have been trying to post on this subject all morning but keep getting the error message “your post can’t be created at this time.” Perhaps it was too long.

    I will condense it to say that the newly discovered outrage towards the owners is somewhere between very convenient and downright hypocritical. But welcome to the party belatedly I guess.

    #117441
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
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    I turned some of my responses here into an article. If you’ve read the preceding discussion, you already know what is included.

    #117468
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
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    Former MLB and minor leaguer Doug Glanville calls on the MLB players to take on the fight for minor league pay. I agree with him, having made this same point almost exactly a year ago.

    If MLB Players Don’t Care About Minor League Salaries, Who Will?

    #117478
    Avataratripleshyofthecycle
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    The MLBPA are the only ones who can get this done. And look at what they already do to players with less than 6 years of Major League experience. I’d like to see them look out for minor leaguers, but I’m not holding my breath.

    #117493
    Avatarmudville
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    I don’t think you need a union to get MLB’s handling of the minor league players straightened out. In fact, the point I was trying to make is that MLB is already taking steps to straighten things out, and that’s probably because of pressure from impending lawsuits. If MLB can get the minor leagues organized in a way that is equitable for all teams, then the next thing they can do is set pay structure and living standards and work hours. I don’t understand why MLB didn’t do something about this sooner. Maybe it’s because things were working out alright for them, so ‘Why fix it if it isn’t broken?’ One question to ask is ‘Why was the current system good enough until recently?’ I think it’s because of societal changes. People nowadays expect issues like this to be remedied, whereas in days past it was looked upon as being a tough go for minor league players, but it was just something they had to go through as part of the process of becoming a major league player. As far as I know, all of the players who went through the process survived. Some of them might have even gotten stronger as a result of it.

    I want to add that this is all speculation. If all explanations are possible, then the explanation that teams are possessed by greed and they ignore fairness in order to save money, has to be a possibility, also. It’s just not a premise that I can relate to. Also, IMHO, the premise that the owners are cheap has overtones of the ideology of the political left, and that’s probably part of the reason that it’s such a hot topic.

    #117494
    AvatarMinuteman3
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    I see where the Cubs were just assessed something in the neighborhood of 7.6 million dollars as a luxury tax. Not sure if other clubs are also on the hook but I know it starts at 20% of the overage and then goes to 30% for year two and 50 tax for the third consecutive year.

    I am not sure where this money goes but it would not hurt to be put into a pay raise for minor league players unless it is already designated for a charity.

    #117497
    Avatarmudville
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    They don’t need extra money. Just commit to spending more of the money that they already have coming in on minor league players. Then, they’ll have less money to spend on major league salaries. But, so what?

    #117731
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
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    Don’t use the link in Tweet below as it is broken. Here is the correct link to the article. The opening and closing of the story are focused on the contraction proposal, but to me, the most interesting part is the further detail provided about the salary class action lawsuit.

    https://www.sportingnews.com/us/mlb/news/mlb-milb-dispute-garrett-broshuis/fhkq6xw0y16l1loz38jqt217c

    #118243
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
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    #118660
    BlackHillsCardBlackHillsCard
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