MLB owners ratify minor league collective bargaining deal

FILE - Tampa Tarpons manager Rachel Balkovec, center, exchanges fist bumps with her players, while making her debut as a minor league manager of the Tarpons, a Single-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, before a baseball game against the Lakeland Flying Tigers, Friday, April 8, 2022, in Lakeland, Fla. Minor leaguers ratified their first collective bargaining agreement with Major League Baseball ahead of the season's start Friday, March 31, 2023. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)

FILE - Tampa Tarpons manager Rachel Balkovec, center, exchanges fist bumps with her players, while making her debut as a minor league manager of the Tarpons, a Single-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, before a baseball game against the Lakeland Flying Tigers, Friday, April 8, 2022, in Lakeland, Fla. Minor leaguers ratified their first collective bargaining agreement with Major League Baseball ahead of the season’s start Friday, March 31, 2023. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball owners unanimously approved an initial five-year labor contract with minor league players on Monday that will more than double player salaries.

The agreement was reached last Wednesday and ratified by players on Friday.

Minor league players formed a bargaining unit during a rapid 17-day organization drive as part of the Major League Baseball Players Association last September and MLB voluntarily recognized the union rather than force a National Labor Relations Board election.

“Meeting throughout the offseason, we made tremendous progress over a short period of time,” MLB said in a statement. “This agreement builds upon the significant effort MLB undertook four years ago to modernize baseball’s player development system, including increased salaries, free housing, improved facilities, better clubhouse conditions, and reduced in-season travel with better geographical alignment.”

Unlike the major league labor contract that sets yearly salary minimums, the minor league deal specifies weekly minimums. They are, according to details obtained by The Associated Press:

— Rookie league: $675 in 2023 and ‘24, $700 in ’25, $710 in ‘26 and $720 in ’27.

— Class A: $850 in 2023 and ‘24, $870 in ’25, $885 in ‘26 and $905 in ’27.

— High Class A: $900 in 2023 and ‘24, $920 in ’25, $935 in ‘26 and $955 in ’27.

— Double-A: $1,000 in 2023 and ‘24, $1,020 in ‘25, $1,040 in ’26 and $1,026 in ’27.

— Triple-A: $1,200 in 2023 and 24, $1,225 in ‘25, $1,250 in ’26 and $1,275 in ’27.

Pay for spring training pay and offseason work at team complexes will be $625 weekly in 2024, $650 in ‘25, $660 in ’26 and $670 in 27.

Pay for offseason offsite work will be $250 weekly in 2023 and ‘24. $255 in ’25, $260 in ‘26 and $265 in ’27.

Players will receive $625 in weekly retroactive pay for 2022-23 offseason work and this year’s spring training, with a cap of $2,500.

In addition, players will receive free housing as long as they earn more than $4,666.67 weekly, which comes to about $110,000 over a 25 1/2-week Triple-A season. Housing had long been a point of contention.

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.

The roster limits will be 35 on international rookie level teams, 24-30 for Class A and 24-28 for Double-A and Triple-A.

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