Minor league players ratify collective bargaining agreement

March 31, 2023 GMT
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FILE - Major League Baseball Players Association Executive Director Tony Clark answers a question during a news conference in New York on March 11, 2022. Minor leaguers ratified their first collective bargaining agreement with Major League Baseball ahead of the season's start Friday, March 31, 2023. “It’s a historic day for these players,” union head Tony Clark said in a statement. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
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FILE - Major League Baseball Players Association Executive Director Tony Clark answers a question during a news conference in New York on March 11, 2022. Minor leaguers ratified their first collective bargaining agreement with Major League Baseball ahead of the season's start Friday, March 31, 2023. “It’s a historic day for these players,” union head Tony Clark said in a statement. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Minor leaguers ratified their first collective bargaining agreement with Major League Baseball ahead of the season’s start Friday.

The five-year deal was agreed to Wednesday. MLB owners are expected to vote on the agreement next week.

The Major League Baseball Players Association, which in September began representing players with minor league contracts, said Friday that more than 99% of minor leaguers who cast ballots approved the deal. About 5,500 players are in the bargaining unit.

“It’s a historic day for these players,” union head Tony Clark said in a statement.

Minimum salaries will rise from $4,800 to $19,800 at rookie ball, $11,000 to $26,200 at Low Class A, $11,000 to $27,300 at High Class A, $13,800 to $27,300 at Double A and $17,500 to $35,800 at Triple-A. Players will be paid in the offseason for the first time.

Minor league players will receive four weeks of retroactive spring training pay for this year. They will get $625 weekly for spring training and offseason training camp and $250 weekly for offseason workouts at home.

Most players will be guaranteed housing, and players at Double-A and Triple-A will be given a single room. Players at Low A and High A will have the option of exchanging club housing for a stipend. The domestic violence and drug policies will be covered by the union agreement. Players who sign for the first time at 19 or older can become minor league free agents after six seasons instead of seven.

MLB agreed not to reduce minor league affiliates from the current 120. Beginning in 2024, teams can have a maximum of 165 players under contract during the season and 175 during the offseason, down from the current 190 and 180.

Players will gain rights to second medical opinions, a 401k plan and arbitration to contest discipline under a just cause standard.

The union will take over group licensing rights for players.

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