After the 2021 season, MLB announced it will require all clubs to provide housing to Minor League players beginning in the 2022 season. This required the Los Angeles Angels to come up with a plan to follow the league’s mandate.
To be compliant with the housing policy, clubs must provide housing accommodation options located at a reasonable, commutable distance from the ballpark to Minor Leaguers who are not on a Major League deal or making six-figure salaries.
Bedrooms must contain a single bed per player with no more than two players per bedroom and accommodations must be furnished. Clubs are also responsible for basic utility bills at club-provided living arrangements.
So far, the Angels are complying with the policy, but some of their Minor League players remain frustrated by the lack of communication from the club and their failure to implement their own policy well, according to Sam Blum of The Athletic:
“Angels minor-league players, meanwhile, acknowledge that their quality of living has increased from years past, but they also expressed frustrations and noted the team hasn’t been clear with regard to its own policies on separate housing for players with spouses and/or children.”
The Angels have previously been at the forefront of the blame surrounding the poor Minor League conditions. Multiple Angels’ prospects went on record to talk about the stress and mental health problems they were experiencing.
Angels general manager Perry Minasian quickly released a short statement about the report, saying “What is being reported is unacceptable, and we will look into it and address it.”
Two months later, the club offered an additional free meal to their Minor Leaguers, and after MLB’s housing policy was announced, Minasian said they would work to come up with plan.
But with the season now underway and the new policy in affect, players still feel the Angels are doing the bare minimum to comply with the policy:
“They’re just hitting all the checkmarks just to, you know, get by,” one Angels minor leaguer said. “And most people know that Angels minor leaguers are on the bottom, while our (franchise) is (valued in the top 10).
“Like last year,” said Minor League Advocates executive director Harry Marino, “it appears that the Angels are near the bottom of the league when it comes to the treatment of minor-league players.”
Minasian made good first steps with the free meal while also holding a sit-down conversation with Minor League representatives, but if the club is unable to address their players’ concerns, then their actions will just appear to be moves made to save face.
Although the Angels shouldn’t need incentive to take care of their workers, it’s also just smart business to do so. Prospects who can focus more on developing their skills and less on worrying abut their bills, food and housing have much higher odds to become star players.
Prospects are essentially an investment. The more you put in to them, the more you’re likely to get from them later. So if the Angels don’t see the reason to support their Minor League players on a human level (which is the correct thing to do), then they should at least do it for the team’s future.
Maddon: Angels ‘Played Well’ Despite Results
The Angels didn’t start their season on the best note, dropping three of their first four games of 2022 to the division rival Houston Astros.
They were outscored 20-10 to start the season, including a 13-6 blowout their second game of their season. Their only victory came on a 2-0 win behind a strong club debut from Noah Syndergaard, who pitched 5.1 innings while allowing only two hits.
While it wasn’t the start the Angels were looking for, manager Joe Maddon is still confident in his team and liked the way they were playing.