Though your first association with the Houston Astros may be the sign-stealing scandal, they were in the center of a much more positive initiative in 2021 as the first team to provide housing to all minor league players affiliated with the Astros. That gave everyone — from the members of the Triple-A Sugar Land Skeeters to the Low-A Asheville Tourists — furnished apartments, courtesy of the Astros organization.
That was something they did before any sort of league mandate was in place, and they were "believed" to be the first MLB franchise to take action like this (via Jeff Passan of ESPN). Now, it seems as though they acted as the model for the rest of the league to follow going forward.
On Sunday, Passan reported that the league will require teams to provide housing for all minor league players across the four levels of play "amid mounting pressure from players and advocacy groups," with this huge change starting in 2022.
No official outline has been set, says Passan, but owners from the 30 MLB teams unanimously agreed on a plan that would provide housing for the MiLB players. Passan notes that it is not yet known if "providing housing" would come in the form of the lodging itself or stipends that would fully cover the costs of housing.
"This is a historic victory for minor league baseball players," said Harry Marino, the executive director of Advocates for Minor Leaguers. "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."
This past season, minor league salary increases went into effect at all levels, pushing Class A minimum weekly pay from $290 to $500, Double-A from $350 to $600, and Triple-A from $502 to $700. This, combined with the new agreement to provide housing, shows that player and fan efforts to give more to minor leaguers have paid off.