With the ongoing lockout, the status of spring training is still up in the air, as minor-leaguers await the decision of Major League Baseball.
Although there is no collective bargaining agreement in place, Minor League Baseball can continue on, but MLB has proposed changes on a salary outlook.
Multiple reports have pointed to the league not wanting to pay prospects during spring training, if the league moves forward without 40-man players this spring. Under the “Save America’s Pastime Act,” teams don’t have to pay players during spring training.
Former Astros prospect Mark Appel, a career minor leaguer, offered his opinion on the current minor-league problems facing MLB.
The Houston Astros homed Mark Appel for a short time, following his first-round selection. The right-hander opened up about the struggles he encountered in his short time in September of 2021, as he eyed a comeback.
Appel is now back on Twitter to provide his advice on how to address the issues many minor-league players face, while also acknowledging that his position entering professional baseball was different from the regular prospect.
The 30-year-old made sense of how minor leaguers have seven years until they embark on their first free agency, while many don’t even reach the feat.
Appel’s breakdown of pay for players below Triple-A shows players “making less than $4,000 per month for working 10ish hours per day, 6-7 days per week, 5 months per year.”
"“But I think the salary discussion speaks to the deeper issue: the stress of choosing between performance and survival,” Appel said via Twitter. “Baseball is a difficult sport and needs your utmost attention and focus to succeed. The simpler your life, the better.”"
Expenses can sometimes eclipse the yearly salary of a minor leaguer. MLB franchises are starting to make the adjustment of housing all prospects, as the combination of rent, food and offseasons costs are putting players above what they owe regarding their salary.
Appel’s breakdown of costs comes from a true source: someone who has encountered the whole process.
While MLB hasn’t been the most addressing to the needs of minor leaguers in the past, the League is making strides to improve the living conditions of many, although still struggling with wage gaps.
"“At the end of the day, I think MLB teams should have this approach: ‘Treat players with professionalism and expect professionalism in return,’” Appel said via Twitter. “When MiLB players retire because they can’t afford it, even though they have the talent, it’s worse for baseball.”"
Of current Astros, prospect Freudis Nova has displayed his frustrations with the current CBA discussions on his Instagram. The recent 40-man removal said “no way” to minor leaguers playing without pay.