For too long, minor-league players have been underpaid with most barely able to make a living wage. As if players weren’t already under enough pressure, trying to be the needle in a haystack of thousands of big-league hopefuls, many are left to find their own living arrangements, often shacking up with teammates in uncomfortably tight quarters.
Sleeping on a ratty, Reagan-Era pullout in a studio apartment containing half your team’s pitching staff isn’t exactly ideal for peak performance, which is why the Astros, beginning this season, will provide furnished housing for players across all minor-league levels. That includes Houston’s affiliates in Sugar Land (Triple-A), Corpus Christi (Double-A), Fayetteville (High-A), Asheville (Low-A) and West Palm Beach (Rookie). The Astros are believed to be the first MLB team to offer such accommodations, according to Brittany Ghiroli ofThe Athletic.
In the past, some players have stayed with “host” families during the season, though that practice has been discontinued amid COVID-19. While the current minor-league system still has its flaws (service-time manipulation chief among them), this at least counts as a step in the right direction. Minimum salaries were also raised this year with Triple-A players now paid $700 a week (up from $502), $600 for Double-A (previously $350), $500 for Single-A ($290) and a weekly wage of $400 for players competing on the Rookie/Short-Season circuit ($290). Hopefully more teams will follow the Astros’ initiative, allowing players to focus on baseball instead of worrying about the price of rent or what furniture to buy.