TepidP had a really good comment in the comments section, but it was after the Martin Perez and Matt Harrison news broke, so I'm not sure many people saw it. Thus, I'm going to cut-and-paste it in its entirety here:
Regardless of the tone of Dirk’s piece, I’m at least happy that he’s illuminated something many people were unaware of. I’m biased on account of talking to minor leaguers face-to-face everyday for the last few years, but I do believe they’re underpaid. I also seldom hear any of them complain in earnest. ALL of them bitch about money, because it’s tight, but I’ve learned the one’s who don’t bitch about money are actually the one’s who are genuinely struggling. It’s hardest on the older guys with families. It’s a choice they’ve made and a sacrifice their families have agreed to go though. A good example of making choices is Ross Wolf. He had his second child while still in the minors, got a chance to pitch in the big leagues at age 30, qualified for the medical plan, earned the pro-rated salary for 2013, and then had a big opportunity presented to him. With an unsure status on the big league club, he chose the bird in the hand on behalf of his family. Pitching in Korea isn’t ideal, but he got life-changing money. His wife had put up with nearly a decade of minor league wages and offseason pitching lessons for youngsters for $40/hour, and Ross made the call to take the Korean job. The young guys just put up with it. It’s a whip, but few would rather have it any other way.
I do think that the structure is due for a re-examination. Perhaps conversations like this will help. I also think what I feel to be an inevitable shift to a time when clubs own their minor league affiliates will help. The farms have always operated like, well, farms. You don’t eat your meal there, but they’re pretty damn integral to you getting your meal in the first place. Also, don’t forget, most importantly, all this is driven by the continued economic growth of the game both at the MLB level and the MiLB level. There’s more money than there has ever been, and I’m optimistic some of it will trickle down to the lower level employees.
The bottom line for me is that I do believe change is coming, but it’ll be gradual and it’ll be economically timed. Meaning, the organizations aren’t going to do anything until their hands are forced and even then, they’ll be financially prudent. Or "cheap". But hey, like I said, the kids bitch a little, and it’s not easy, but I’ve never heard one say, "I wish I was doing something else." And if nothing else, conversations like this help folks understand mine and many other minor league followers’ joy when a guy makes it up. Not a first rounder who got a $7million bonus, but Joey Butler, Ross Wolf, Jim Adduci, and Nick Martinez. It’s an entirely different world. This will also help change your perception when you walk into Dr. Pepper Park and see a late round pick signing autographs at the table up front (they get $50 for that), or reading the Cinemark Movie Review in the 6th inning ($100), or taking pictures at your local In Touch Credit Union branch ($100 for 2 hours). Of course they’re underpaid. You probably knew that, even if you didn’t. Because why the hell else would anyone eat every meal at Chipotle?
Now go buy some tickets and root on your local underpaid future heroes. They’re almost all good kids. Almost.
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