Blue Jays to raise their MiLB players’ salaries by 50 percent

Good ol’ Canadian hospitality at work.

Jokes aside, the Toronto Blue Jays are taking a massive, progressive step forward in rectifying Minor League Baseball’s rampant minor-league pay issue, raising the salaries of their minor league players by 50 percent, according to a report from Emily C. Waldon and Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic.

The report notes that Toronto began theorizing the changes for about a year before finally putting them into action, per Toronto vice president of baseball operations Ben Cherington.

Throughout the years, MLB has taken steps to minimize the pay of minor leaguers, stemming back to 2016. MLB faced lawsuits regarding overtime and wage laws of minor leaguers, and in response lobbied for minor leaguers to be construed as seasonal employees, circumventing certain federal labor laws and protections. MLB’s lobbying culminated the “Save America’s Pastime Act” being signed in 2018.

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Since players aren’t paid by minor league teams — they’re paid from the affiliated major-league team — this seems to be an act of good faith and smart labor progression from the Blue Jays prior to the end of the current MLB collective bargaining agreement, which is set to expire following 2021.

Minor leaguers aren’t subject to MLB’s CBA — they’re not union members until they make the 40-man roster — but service-time manipulation and other free-agency issues have become one of the main focal points for the MLBPA.

A 50 percent salary increase for MiLB is a good start, but it’s still not enough. Paying players who hope to make The Show one day a living wage should be an expectation, not a point of contention.

Hopefully the rest of MLB follows Toronto’s lead and takes more steps to rectify one of baseball’s biggest transgressions.

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