One of the biggest underlying storylines from the 2021 MLB season was the continued fight for Minor League players to receive livable wages, housing, and overall better treatment. Horrifying stories circulated about players sleeping in their cars or cramming six or more people into a two-bedroom apartment.
One of the teams under the most fire was the Los Angeles Angels, who had MiLB representatives eventually meet with Perry Minasian. The team had committed to some small steps already, but had taken no significant action in the months following this meeting.
Now, Major League Baseball has forced the hand of every team refusing to take action themselves. Starting in 2022, MLB teams will be required to provide housing for all Minor League players at all levels. It’s unclear if this will be done via a housing stipend or if the team will provide the lodging itself.
Regardless, this is a massive step forward toward Minor League players being able to actually give their all to the sport without worrying about their next meal or where they are going to sleep that night. The executive director of Advocates of Minor Leaguers felt this way as well, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN:
“This is a historic victory for minor league baseball players,” Harry Marino, executive director of Advocates of Minor Leaguers and a former minor league player, told ESPN. “When we started talking to players this season about the difficulties they face, finding and paying for in-season housing was at the top of almost every player’s list. As a result, addressing that issue became our top priority.”
Major League Baseball is also in the middle of undergoing several other changes. Starting in 2021, their plan was to increase salaries at all levels, significantly reduce travel requirements during the season, and make updates to stadiums and locker rooms across the country.
As Marino said, this is truly a historic time for minor league players, as they can finally play the game they love while also being able to live comfortably.
This not only benefits the players, it benefits the sport, as their players will be able to give a greater commitment and potentially play longer. There were numerous stories of playesr retiring due to the living conditions.
The 2022 MLB Draft remains months away. However, the Angels are likely hard at work trying to figure out their strategy for it. Due to where they finished in the standings, they will select 13th overall in each round, a slight drop from the pick they had in 2021.