Major League Baseball Says 90 Percent of Minor Leaguers Will Have Housing Needs Covered

Following significant criticism after reports of living conditions of minor league baseball players, Major League Baseball announced details of a new policy Thursday requiring teams to provide basic housing needs for minor league players.

Traditionally, teams arrange hotel accommodations for games on the road, but previously players were largely left to find their own housing for home games in-season.

According to The Associated Press, the new policy requires MLB teams to provide furnished housing "located at a reasonable, commutable distance from the ballpark," with no more than two players in one bedroom and each player having their own bed, with the team paying basic utility bills.

The commissioner's office estimated the policy will provide housing to around 90 percent of minor league players, excluding players on major league contracts on temporary minor league assignments and players with minor league contracts earning over $100,000.

Last season, the minimum contract for players signing their first major league contract was $46,600, and rookie-level players saw a rise in their weekly pay rates in the 2021 season.

MLB took control of operations of all levels of the minor leagues starting in the 2021 season from the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues and reduced the number of minor league affiliate teams from 162 to 120 for the season.

Currently, there are four levels of minor league teams per MLB team, with additional teams allowed at the team's spring training facilities and internationally in the Dominican Republic.

The housing policy was previously announced on October 17, and today marks the first official details of the plan released to the public.

For more reporting from The Associated Press, see below.

Rob Manfred, Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred's office announced Thursday the first specifics of the new housing requirements MLB teams have to provide their minor league players starting in 2022. Above, Manfred presents Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels with the Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award prior to Game One of the World Series October 26, 2021, in Houston, Texas. Bob Levey/Getty Images

"To the extent that apartments, rental homes or host families are not feasible," MLB said, "clubs may choose to provide hotel rooms that satisfy standards put in place."

Players retain the right to opt out of team-provided housing.

After successfully lobbying Congress to exempt minor leaguers from federal minimum wage laws, MLB raised wages between 38 percent and 72 percent when the minor leagues returned in 2021 from a one-season absence caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Players at rookie levels saw the weekly minimum rise from $290 to $400, players at Class A from $290 to $500, at Double-A from $350 to $600 and at Triple-A from $502 to $700. Players are paid only in-season.

The minor league minimum was $46,600 last season for a player signing his first major league contract, and $93,000 for a player signing a second or later major league contract. For players in the major leagues, the minimum was $570,500.

Under the changes, big league teams are an average of 200 miles closer to their Triple-A affiliates, allowing most to be within driving distance of their parent team.

"The owners went into our first season modernizing the player development system focused on addressing longstanding issues that have impacted minor league players for decades," MLB Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Morgan Sword said in a statement. "Owners knew that a change of this scale always meant that more work would need to be done to achieve our shared goals. This step forward recognizes that the unprecedented nature of the past two years has further exacerbated affordable housing challenges across the country that existed before the pandemic. The owners are confident that this investment will help ensure that minor league players have every opportunity to achieve their dreams of becoming major leaguers."

Bullpen
The commissioner's office estimated the new policy will provide housing to around 90 percent of minor league players, excluding players on major league contracts on temporary minor league assignments and players with minor league contracts earning over $100,000. Above, Jose Urquidy #65 of the Houston Astros warms up in the bullpen prior to Game Two of the World Series against the Atlanta Braves at Minute Maid Park on October 27, 2021, in Houston, Texas. Getty