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MLB Restructures Minor League As Players See Pay Increase

M
ajor League Baseball (MLB) has announced a plan to reorganise its minor leagues with a 120-team regional alignment, after 40 affiliate teams were remove last season under the old minor league system.

From the old system, the remaining 120 teams were offered 10-year licenses in December, with all teams accepting in anticipation of the creation of two Triple-A divisions, as well as three divisions each for Double-A, High-A, and Low-A.

The MLB has said the leagues have not decided on official names and branding, but will be called Triple-A East and West, Double-A Central, Northeast and South, High-A Central, East and West, and Low-A East, Southeast and West for now.

Each MLB franchise will reportedly have affiliates with one team at each level, with additional clubs allowed at spring training complexes for MLB clubs and in the Dominican Republic.

The move comes after the MLB ended the Professional Baseball Agreement that governed the relationship between the Minor Leagues and the MLB, with the Minor Leagues now run by the MBL’s new senior vice president of minor league operations and development.

With the new ‘modernised player development system’, as it is being named by the MLB, Minor League player salaries will increase in a range between 38-72% for the 2021 season.

This change will see the weekly minimum pay rise from $290 to $500 for High/Low-A players, from $250 to $600 for Double-A players, and from $502 to $700 for Triple-A players.

Sporting News compared the new minimum salary for Triple-A players, compared to the NBA and NHL’s top affiliate leagues, the G-League and the AHL.

The report showed the minimum salary for Triple-A players has now been increased to $14,700, while the minimum salary for G-League players is $35,000, and for AHL players is $52,000.

Meanwhile, the MLB has proposed a 154-game season with a start date delayed by one month to the players’ union, in order to ensure players can be paid their full contracted wages.

The 2020 MLB season was reduced to 60 games due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and saw players receive just over one-third of their salaries, leading to the players union refusing to accept less than full salaries in 2021 regardless of how the season is played out.