There have been a lot of issues with regards to how minor league baseball players have been treated over the years. Major League Baseball said that they were going to take steps to improve things for the players a few years ago. Part of that plan was to eliminate the non-complex level teams, thus reducing the number of players under contract in every organization….. but the claim was that for those remaining in the organization, pay would be increased (it was, but still not enough in many cases) and facilities would be upgraded to a reasonable standard for professional athletes (some have been, some are in the process).

On Sunday night one of the biggest issues seemed to be coming. Jeff Passan of ESPN reported that Major League Baseball will be providing housing in the 2022 season for players in the minors. The exact details aren’t available yet and as reported by Passan are still being finalized.

About 90 minutes later, though, Evan Drellich of The Athletic shared a statement that he got from Major League Baseball.

The words “agreed to begin providing housing to certain minor league players” stick out like a sore thumb. There is no clarification there as to which players will have their housing provided for them and which ones won’t. But it seems to be very problematic on the surface.

There may be more, but only two scenarios I can come up with where not everyone gets housing provided would be as follows: Players on a split contract where they would still get $100,000+ if they are in the minors, or players who choose to opt out because whatever “housing provided” situation they would get (be it a housing allowance or a hotel/dorm/whatever), they choose to opt out of because they can afford to and want to live somewhere else in the town that they are staying in.

There are a lot of opinions and questions that still need to be answered on this. Let’s start with what are likely the two options that will be here: Teams will either provide a housing subsidy and the players will be able to find a place on their own to live, or teams will make a deal with an apartment complex(es) or hotel for the season where the players can then live during the season. Another option that has been brought up is teams/the league coming together to just build their own apartments/dorms for the players in the host cities as sort of a collaborative (since some cities are more expensive than others, and affiliations do change – though not as often as they used to). That one seems to be far less likely because of the initial investment, and even if it were to happen, it’s years down the road given the time it would take to get everything in order.

One of the bigger questions I’ve seen asked is this: What happens if and when a player is released? Currently players have been on their own with regards to housing. A player that is released doesn’t just automatically become homeless in the town in which they are staying in because they were playing baseball there. They had an agreement with someone (host family, hotel, landlord, etc) for a specified period of time for residency. With housing now being provided by the organization, what is the process like for a player who is let go during the season? How much time do they get to “clear out”, so to speak?

When it comes to players and the provided housing – there are varying opinions. Some players prefer that the organization simply take care of it for them, whether that’s a hotel or whatever. Currently many organizations will provide a hotel for the first three days after a player arrives in their new city and then after that they are on their own to have found housing. There are a lot of issues with that from the players side of things.

On the other side of the coin, though, is that some players have different requirements for housing than others and a “one size fits all” approach doesn’t quite work. A single 19-year-old player probably doesn’t have the same needs as a 23-year-old married player with a child (or perhaps multiple children). Living out of a hotel for 5 months may work for a single guy. It’s a lot different if you have a wife and a child living with you that you help provide for.

There are still so many unanswered questions here. It’s certainly a step in the right direction. It seems that Major League Baseball is trying to do the right thing. Let’s just all hope that they do get it right for *everyone* and not just *certain players*.

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Doug Gray is the owner and operator of this website and has been running it since 2006 in one variation or another. You can follow him on twitter @dougdirt24, or follow the site on Facebook. and Youtube.

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7 Responses

  1. Stock

    I was thinking about the Reds ceiling guys this weekend and did some research. I looked at all the pitchers who have ever made Doug’s top 25. I looked further at 10 pitchers from the past who I felt had high ceilings (Cingrani, Corcino, Iglesias, Mahle, Chapman, Bailey, Stephenson, Castillo, Cueto and Lotzkar). Four of these players had a K% of at least 25% and a K%-BB% of at least 20% in their best minor league season (Cingrani 33.9%, 23.7%, Stephenson 29.3%, 21.7%, Castillo 25.6%, 21.5% and Cueto (25.3%, 20.2%)). Two other players had K% greater than 25% (Chapman 30.3%, 17.7%, Bailey 27.5%, 18.7%). Ranking these six in terms of ceiling is difficult after #1. Here is my best shot (Chapman, Bailey, Castillo, Cingrani, Cueto, Stephenson). This is ceiling only so Stephenson may be low here. That said I think he is behind Castillo and Cingrani. Bailey received so much hype it is difficult not to put him second. If Cingrani would have developed a 3rd pitch he would have been special so maybe his ceiling should be higher. What do others think?

    Fast forward to 2021. Here is the list of pitchers who had at least a 25% K% and a 20% K% – BB% this year that are in my top 25 (Farr 34.8%, 34.8%, Lodolo 38.8%, 33.3%, Abbott 38.8%, 30.6%, Bonnin 38.1%, 28,6%, Boyle 49.1%, 26.3%, Greene, 31.7%, 22.8% and Ashcraft 28.4%, 20.3%). Seven players meet this criteria in one year vs. four players in many years. There are many reasons for this. First, no innings limit. Second, Covid may have resulted in players starting lower than they should have. Third, there are more K’s in today’s game than 5 years ago. But regardless it is difficult to dispute the high ceilings here.

    My new top ceilings guys. 1. Greene, 2. Chapman, 3. Boyle (with a 50% K% it is difficult not to rank him #1 and only his lack of innings and his level of play places him so low), 4. Bailey, 5. Castillo, 6. Cingrani, 7. Cueto, 8. Bonnin, 9. Stephenson and 10. Mahle (barely over Lodolo).

    It will be very interesting to see how these seven guys perform with real innings next year. I would love to hear what others think. Am I too excited about this current crop of pitching prospects?

  2. Michael Smith

    I will be interested in seeing how this works. My daughter lives in Mesa and the housing/rental market out there is very tight in greater Phoenix. They were finally able to find a place after looking for a year.

    So I guess each market is going to make for unique situations.

  3. Ria Bridewell

    I’ve hosted for 11 years and how they take care of minor league players especially housing is 2 nights in a hotel then on your own. International players have no transportation so they would need a place by the field which usually isn’t cheap. It’s going to be interesting to see if they allow players to stay with families. I sure hope so cause we love having them.

    • Doug Gray

      Yeah, it’s a little bit different with each organization, and even at different stops along the way depending on the organization you are in. It’s a mess (and has been for a long time). This is going to be better than it has been. The question is will they get it close to right?

  4. MK

    I’ve always understood the Cubs have purchased facilities in each of their affiliates cities to house players. The Reds of the past years have had different circumstances at different locations. Greeneville put the players up in a Sleep 6 Motel, two to a room, that the players played a discounted rate for, plus they ate out most of their meals. Billings and Dayton have mostly host families, many provide room and board and sometimes a vehicle. Daytona, theywere on their own. Pensacola had a combination of host families and on their own, Louisville on their own.

    Another housing issue not addressed is married players. There ha been a few over the years in Dayton, who have to pay their own way. I know a few years ago when their was the uprisings in Venezuela, the Reds offered to pay their Venezuelan players rooming over the off season to stay in Arizona. However they would not pay for wives and children’s expenses, so many just went home.

  5. Old Big Ed

    There are a lot of details to cover, but finding 20 or so apartments per team (assuming roommates) shouldn’t be so hard to manage. I know in Arizona there is a building somewhat between the Reds and Indians facility that looks like an apartment building used by the teams, and there is plenty of land around there to build something that would work. Between spring training, complex ball, instructional league and Arizona Fall League, the Reds could keep it filled almost year-round.

    They oughta be able to find 20 apartments in Daytona, Dayton, Chattanooga and Louisville. They could eventually find some seasonal users for October through March (especially in Daytona). This all can’t be done overnight, but it can be done fairly easily.

  6. DaveCT

    Really off topic. I do not mind at all watching Jose Siri play in the ACLS. There truly was no more we could do. He had to do it for himself.