In the ongoing discussion regarding Major League Baseball’s intention to eliminate 42 minor league teams in 2020, the two sides met during the Winter Meetings in San Diego.
Following the meetings, Minor League Baseball contends MLB misrepresented several of facts “repeatedly and inaccurately” pertaining to the conditions and financial burden undertaken by each team based on the current Professional Baseball Agreement (PBA).
A detailed four-page press release was sent out to the media detailing alleged inaccuracies purported by MLB regarding facilities, player health and welfare, schedules, team travel, hotels, clubhouse conditions, amenities, player salaries and more.
MiLB contends there are few, if any, facilities that are non-compliant. MiLB says they have offered to negotiate reasonable facility standards in the next PBA.
MiLB refutes MLB’s claim that they are not open to discuss adjusting game schedules, team travel, hotel and clubhouse conditions and amenities. MiLB said they have given MLB new ideas on improving team travel, but MLB has not responded.
MiLB was keen to point out that MLB contention that they are wholly subsidizing all minor league teams is “wildly inaccurate.” MiLB believes MLB overlooks the value of money, goods and services that MiLB contributes each year. MiLB estimates in incurs expenses of $60 million each season and pays out a “ticket tax” of $20 million back to MLB. MiLB also says they pay for the development costs for training of umpires employed by MiLB for potential MLB use in the future.
In upshot, MiLB states for all of these reasons, MLB commissioner Robert Manfred’s contention that MiLB is a “heavily subsidized” industry is untrue.
The current PBA is set to expire at the end of the 2020 season. The two sides will continue to meet to discuss potential adjustments or solutions to that plan.
The low Single-A Hagerstown Suns and short season Single-A Auburn Doubledays were two of the Nationals affiliates on the list for elimination.
Here is the link to the MiLB press release on the matter.
Update: MiLB issued an updated statement Dec. 14 regarding the ongoing discussions with MLB:
“MiLB agrees with MLB that contentious public statements are not conducive to the ability to conduct serious and good faith negotiations. However, as we are dealing with a matter of compelling public interest, we believe all should agree as well that accuracy in the public commentary is of the utmost importance and that the dissemination of non-conforming ‘information’ serves no proper purpose. We sincerely hope that we can move forward with MLB in the spirit of the excellent partnership we mutually have enjoyed for so many years and reach agreement on a new Professional Baseball Agreement that is in the best interests of the game of Baseball and its future in communities across America.”