Keep An Eye On The MLB-MiLB Player Development Contract Negotiations

1994 Redux?

It is no secret that the Major League Baseball Players Association collective bargaining agreement with Major League Baseball owners ends on December 1, 2021. It is no secret that some players were very unhappy last winter with the way the owners were negotiating with the players. Some players did not sign until June, more than two months into the season. In the end, owners doled out significant money to some players. But there is another set of negotiations featuring the Major League Baseball owners that is going unnoticed. The player development contact with minor league baseball operators ends after the 2020 season and there could be some demands made of approximately 160 cities. Major League Baseball owners more than likely want significant upgrades to the parks used by minor league affiliates and those minor league affiliates generally play at facilities owned by local municipalities. Two cities that will not have to worry about upgrading existing facilities are Wichita, Kansas and Worcester, Massachusetts because new stadiums are being built in those soon to be Triple A cities. Other cities such as Beloit, Wisconsin may be asked to kick in money to either build a new facility or renovate an existing venue.

In 1990, an agreement between the Major League Baseball owners and the Minor League Baseball operators transformed Minor League Baseball. All Minor League Baseball team owners had to take a close look at their stadiums to determine if the stadiums met major league requirements. Major League Baseball owners demanded new facilities or significantly renovated facilities with local taxpayers picking up the bill. It all had to be done by the 1994 season. A handful of longtime minor league cities including Elmira, New York, Glens Falls, New York and others did not have the money to upgrade local stadiums and lost teams. That could happen again by 2023.