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Minor League Notes: Tacoma, West Tenn

Posted by Jason A. Churchill on January 1, 2007

Final rosters will, of course, not be released for a couple of months as many decisions have yet to be made and will be based on what players show the organization in spring training, starting next month in Peoria.

But the field staffs have been announced, as has the roving instructors for the upcoming season, including a change at the position of hitting instructor, where Alonzo Powell takes over for Glenn Adams.

Remember, all of this is preliminary and subject to mass change, but it’s been an interesting month and a half for me as I scour the rosters putting together the top 50 prospects.

Some of these rosters are going to be a lot of fun to watch, and it’s becoming a regular thing in this organization. One of these days, the Mariners will figure out how to draft hitters and develop players properly, because there hasn’t been nearly enough of it over the past three years.

Onto the stuff.

Tacoma Rainiers

Manager: Daren Brown

Hitting Coach: Terry Pollreisz

Pitching Coach: Dwight Bernard

Trainier: Tom Newberg

Roster Notes:
The Rainiers roster has been pretty interesting since the start of the 2004 season and that will not change in 2007. The starting rotation is likely to include five of the following: Travis Blackley, Ryan Feierabend, Jesse Foppert, Robert Rohrbaugh, Yorman Bazardo, Travis Chick, Justin Lehr, Jake Woods, Cha Seung Baek.

Chick, Dorman, Bazardo and Foppert are probably best suited for the bullpen, as their futures probably lie in relief, but where they began their 2007 seasons will depend on who else breaks camp with Tacoma and who makes the 25-man, and above all, the health of Mr. Foppert.

The rest of the pen may consist of Eric O’Flaherty, if he doesn’t make the big club, Ryan Rowland-Smith, Cesar Jimenez and probably Craig James and/or Stephen Kahn.

Offensively, Oswaldo Navarro and Michael Garciaparra should be the starters up the middle, with Yung Chi Chen a candidate for the second or third base job. If Chen is left in AA to start the year as the DJaxx second baseman, Hunter Brown is the likely starter at the hot corner.

Bryan Lahair is the easy choice at first base and the OF and DH spots are likely to be filled by Adam Jones, Wladimir Balentien, Mike Wilson and Jon Nelson.

The catchers are sure to be a repeat of ’06 with Rob Johnson and Jeff Clement, mirror clones of one another, splitting time.

Brown will make his Triple-A debut after several seasons in A ball and one year in AA, and while the rumor is he’s not all that media savvy – or friendly – he has done a solid job with his rosters and that’s what matters most.

Pollreisz has a great rapport with young hitters and there’s nothing more entertaining than to see Polls sprint out from the dugout to argue balls and strikes. He only does it when the home plate umpire is being unreasonable and his roast last summer was classic.

Here, I’ll quote Pollreisz after Chris Snelling was called out on strikes on a three terrible strike calls, all on the outer half.

“THE STRIKE ZONE! … IS TOO… FUCKING… WIDE!” – as he holds his palms three feet apart to show lil blue how large his zone was.

Bernard is quickly becoming one of the more respected pitching coaches in the PCL and returns for his second year in Tacoma.

Side Note: Tom Newberg is in his first year as trainier for the Rainiers after spending several seasons as Rock Griffin’s first assistant in Seattle. Rob Nodine, who spent the last four years in Tacoma, jumps to the majors to replace Newberg.
West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx

Manager: Eddie Rodriguez

Hitting Coach: Tommy Cruz

Pitching Coach: Brad Holman

Trainier: Jeremy Clipperton

Roster Notes:
A few of the pitchers mentioned above in AAA may sprinkle across the DJaxx roster, such as James or Kahn, and possibly even Rohrbaugh. The rest will likely be made up of starters such as Andrew Baldwin, Andy Barb, Cibney Bello, Justin Thomas, Aaron Jensen and Julio Santiago.

Last June’s first round pick Brandon Morrow could prove worthy for AA as well, depending on his health and his spring showing. Either way, Morrow probably moves quite quickly into the upper minors, and could see time in Triple-A Tacoma in 2007. Frankly, I’d be surprised if he didn’t.

The West Tenn bullpen could be filled out by Chad Fillinger, Jose de la Cruz, Lance Beus, Jon Lockwood, Mumba Rivera and Aaron Trolia. Joe Woerman is also a candidate heading into spring work.

Yung Chi Chen, Matt Tuiasosopo, Thomas Hubbard, Brent Johnson, Sebastian Boucher, Casey Craig, Brian Schweiger, Chris Colton and possibly even Luis Valbuena and Jeffrey Dominguez will make up most of the position players on the roster.

It would be pressing Valbuena and Dominguez, but the organization leans toward aggression, so things could go swift for those two. It’s tough to say where Jesus Guzman fits in, if at all.

Next Up: Roster speculation for High Desert and Wisconsin, and the field staffs of the rest of the organization through Peoria and the Dominican and Venezuelan Leagues.

Wednesday night WILL officially begin the release of the prospect rankings. Numbers 41-50 will be released, unranked.

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61 Responses to “Minor League Notes: Tacoma, West Tenn”

  1. Jerry said

    Interesting stuff.

    West Tenn looks to be a pretty boring club. The only guys on the roster that seem interesting are Baldwin, Thomas, and De la Cruz, plus some guys who probably shouldn’t be there (Morrow, Valbuena, and Tui).

    Tacoma seems like a much more interesting club. But wasn’t Dorman claimed by another club?

    I thought that your comments about the M’s inability to develop hitters was interesting. I was wondering what your take on that was? I see two big factors: a heavy focus on pitching in the last two drafts and stupid agressive promotions. Is there something else going on here?

    That said, this next draft is supposedly really deep in prep hitters. I would love to see the M’s load up on high-ceiling highschool hitters in the first few rounds, and this is a good year to do that. The club had a huge lack of pitching that has largely been addressed in the past two drafts. Now, I hope that they pick the best players available. This year, that should include some good hitters. The M’s will have an extra sandwich pick, and won’t lose any picks, which is great.

    One of the biggest bummers about this offseason from hell is that this is very likely Fontaine’s last draft for the M’s. Lets hope that he continues his string of solid drafts. As it stands now, his successor should have another high pick in 2008.

  2. Goose said

    What about Sean Burroughs? Would he get the nod at third over Brown in Tacoma, or is he simply there just to take up space and perhaps be an emergency option should Beltre go down?

  3. slim said

    Yeah, Dorman (Marlins) and Atch (Giants) are both gone now.

    Burroughs ought to be the starting 3B in Tacoma. Plus they’ve brought in Gookie Dawkins as a backup to Garciaparra and Navarro I’m guessing. I’m guessing Hunter Brown will continue as the super-utilityman. Clement should be DHing whenever he’s not catching, given a day off a week or so. Hopefully Nelson doesn’t get a whole ton of time. He could end up in AA again with Torcato in the mix.

  4. Sorry… i wrote this two months ago and didn’t check the waiver wire to edit…

    But it doesn’t change much.

    Re: Burroughs… I just think he either makes the big club or they let him go. He isn’t guaranteed all of his 425K unless he makes it passed March 14, which is the last date to terminate a contract and pay just 30 days worth of the contract.

    Even if he worked his deal around that rule, 425K isnt much and I’m not 100% sure they keep him. But he’s certainly in the mix.

    BTW, I don’t think Morrow or Tui are on the “don’t belong” list for AA this spring. If Tui can’t hit AA pitching at a satisfactory level this season, he’s not even a prospect, let alone a promising one.

    Morrow can get outs in the MAJORS right now, so saying he isn’t worthy of AA in April is pretty shortsighted. A healthy Morrow, and there is no reason to think he won’t be 100% come February, is sitting 93-97 and whipping up a pretty good hard splitty. Some keep saying he has a plus slider, but I haven’t been informed of such a pitch yet.

  5. Re: Developing hitters

    When was the last time the Seattle Mariners developed a legit hitter that wasn’t a full-on free swinger?

    Jose is a legit bat, but he’s a free swinger. The M’s didn’t develop any of the other BATS on their entire 25-man, with the exception of Ibanez, who credits his time in KC for his development.

    Even those like Jones, who have been in the system for a few years are doing fine, are closer to being free swingers than anything else.

    The M’s need to dip into the Edgar Martinez school of hitting a little bit more. That is what the big club lacks, and I don’t get why they aren’t going after it in every way at every level from MLB to the VSL and DSL.

  6. One more thing —

    The Rainiers could have an all-lefty rotation if they decide Chick and Bazardo are going to the pen and Feierabend is left in AAA where he belongs.

    Blackley, Rohrbaugh, Feierabend, Jimenez and Woods… not out of the realm of possibility and it’s not a bad rotation, though we all know Cesar belongs in the pen.

  7. Gookie said

    Wait, why do you have Woods on the AAA roster?
    When are the mariners going to finally sign either Ohka or Thompson?

  8. I heard Torcato may not end up making it to ST… some off-field injury thing.

    I’m sure Clement will DH quite a bit. Makes no sense not to.

    And Dawkins is another maybe… he’s no guarantee to make a roster, but neither is Brown, who at 27, obviously has no future in Seattle.

    I still expect the club to make some MORE surprising moves within the farm system before the regular season begins.

    I also left Green and White, the two Sean’s, out of the mix, but either or both could end up in Tacoma, and either or both could end up being sent packing in their own special way.

  9. Gookie – Woods is more likely to make the 25-man than be in Tacoma, but he is no sure thing, so if he doesn’t make the big club, he’s likely bound for Triple-A, or at least they’d prefer to keep him than lose him via waivers…

    Thomson or Ohka? Maybe never. I think Thomson is still a possibility but I’m not all that confident that either pitcher, or their agent, will want to wait much longer, so they may move on elsewhere.

  10. erircthemariner said

    By the end of the year the rotation in AA will be Morrow if he’s not in the Bigs. Varvaro, Thomas, Bladwin and Bello….That is a damn good rotation and everyone of these guys are impact guys. With realy good arms

  11. Varvaro will remain a question mark until he can go more than a few frames in one game. But he’s got the pure arm to make an impact.

    Bello… ugh. I’m not high on him, nor Baldwin.

    I do like Thomas quite a bit, and have since day one. As a fourth rounder, he’s shown quite a bit. Solid stuff, isn’t a soft tosser and has three above average pitches.

  12. erircthemariner said

    What do you think about Tui? He is gonna have to move to the outfield eventually but his discipline at the plate is bad and I don’t think he is ever gonna have the power to be a 20 plus HR guy…so what is his future like? And how many chances will the M’s give him?

  13. Lailokenin said

    Isn’t Wood out of options? Is Rey Ordonez another majors or gone candidate? Morse, Cortez, & Dobbs would be candidates for AAA too. The back-ups in the bigs, if they go with a 12-man rotation, will be: a catcher (most likely Rivera), Bloomquist, an OF who can play CF (Reed), and someone who can bat from the left side (Broussard pretty doubtful, Ordonez hard to pick with his not playing in the last couple years & he’s repetitive as a pinch-runner candidate who lacks any power whatsoever). In thinking this through maybe Dobbs does get the last spot. If Torcato’s healthy any chance he compets for the last bench spot?

  14. Yes, Woods is out of options, which is why I said what I said about him just a few short posts above, unless you skimmed and missed that part.

    Ordonez is like Dawkins, just another Rocky Gutierrez/Benji Gil NRI types.

    Torcato — I don’t have much on him, and probably don’t care enough to dig anything up.

  15. Re: Tui

    It’s a big time make or break year for Tui. Either he’s good and worthy, or he should quit baseball and get a job as his brothers’ slacker kid bro.

  16. Willmore said

    Among pure hitters, who has the highest upside, disregarding what they will likely become, who has the most pure talent in him? Halman, Tui?

  17. Pure hitters? There aren’t any pure hitters in the system that have any upside worth talking about.

    When I think pure hitter, I think of a bat that can hit for average, at least medium power (20+ in the bigs), draws walks, has good PAs on a regular basis.

    Halman actually has more of a track record of success than Tui did at the same age/experience levels. He’s a little bit taller and bigger as well. But they both have the same issues currently… plate skills.

    Hopefully Halman isn’t thrown into the fire in AA in the next 18 months when it’s clear he doesn’t belong.

  18. Goose said

    The one pure hitter we did have in the system, we traded away.

  19. ericthemariner said

    I think Chen is the closest to being considered a pure hitter…Tui and Halman both have holes in their swings. And neither have good plate discipline

  20. SlackMan said

    Jason,
    What do you mean that prospect numbers 41-50 will be unranked?
    Do you think Justin Thomas does well at AA?

  21. MtGrizzly said

    JAC – how interesting is Casey Craig as a prospect? (Personality issues aside, of course.)

  22. Jerry said

    RE Best pure hitters:

    Joe White definitely has a good knowledge of the strike zone: .250/.424/.383.

    Casey Craig has also shown the ability to draw a walk.

    Michael Garciaparra also can get on base.

    But Jeff Clement is definitely the best pure hitter in the system. He has power, a short swing, and plus plate discipline. He is the guy that could end up being a .400 OBP type hitter.

    However, I have to wonder whether or not a change in the organizational philosophy is necessary before the M’s will begin to develop these types of hitters. From what I have gathered, the M’s have been preaching aggressiveness from the lowest levels of the organization. That, combined with premature promotions of young hitters, will result in a lot of free swinging.

    Even if they do start acquiring guys with the skills to turn into good pure hitters, the M’s aren’t going to develop these types of guys unless they put emphasis on this aspect of hitting at all the levels of the farm system. Right now, they aren’t doing that.

    The front office clearly doesn’t value OBP enough.

  23. Standinpat said

    The M’s also haven’t done a good job of drafting guys who have the skills to be good pure hitters. Several years without 1st round picks, and pitcher heavy drafts haven’t allowed us to even try to develop such players. Players like Conor Jackson who was selected by the Diamondbacks with the pick we gave up to sign Greg Colburn.

  24. nighthawk180 said

    Hey jason what do you think of Jeff Keppinger? It sounds as though he hit fairly well in AAA. Didnt due to bad at the majors either. Since the Royals DFA for Riske just a possible minor league/bench option? Or is he even worth the trouble? Just curious.

  25. thr33niL said

    Nice rundown. Looking forward to the rest of the system’s evaluation.

  26. Nice overview of AAA and AA. I think the Rainiers will be very exciting to watch this year … unlike the M’s. The D-Jaxx look good as well.

    I had a side-question

    According to the M’s website, the projected lineup looks like this…

    1. Ichiro
    2. Beltre
    3. Ibanez
    4. Sexson
    5. Vidro
    6. Guillen
    7. Johjima
    8. Lopez
    9. Betancourt

    I think this would be a better lineup…

    1. Ichiro
    2. Beltre
    3. Ibanez
    4. Sexson
    5. Guillen
    6. Vidro
    7. Johjima
    8. YuBet
    9. Lopez

    Partly because I think Lopez “turning around” the order to Ichiro would work better than YuBet in the 9-spot. I also like the idea of packaging the power threats and batting Vidro after them. What do you think of both of these and do you see any major changes to the lineup for Opening Day (I know it’s early…)? Also, if either Beltre or Sexson gets traded, do you think the lineup shifts significantly?

    Also, how early do you think Adam Jones will get called up? Any chance he gets to start the year on the Big League club?

  27. Goose said

    Personally I would move Johjima up in the order and have it be something like Sexson,Guillen,Johjima,Vidro,Lopez,Betancourt.

    With a little more experience under his belt, I can see Kenji putting up a .290/.340/.475 or so line with between 20-25 homers. That’s pretty good for your 6 hitter.

  28. Standinpat said

    i think the whole idea behind getting Vidro is to bat him 2nd, or have him suck and get injured…one of the two. And how freakin stupid is it that we now only have two LH hitters in our everyday lineup, and only one of them is any kind of power threat?

  29. Edman said

    Gee….like we couldn’t use a good #2 hitter behind Ichiro. Just kills me how some think a DH HAS to hit homeruns. I see a lot more balance up and down the lineup next year. Having a switch-hitter who makes contact behind Ichiro for 85% of time, really isn’t that bad. But, hey, some have to have a DH who hits homeruns, to feel like there is something worth watching.

  30. JH said

    A DH has to HIT, period, Edman. The purpose of any offense is to create runs. A .350OBP from a guy with very little power doesn’t create that many of them, regardless of how well you think he slides into the #2 spot.

    A DH doesn’t have to hit home runs, necessarily, but a good team needs a DH who’s an above average offensive player. Lacking that, they need serious offensive ability from non-power positions to make up for it.

    If Vidro’s the player he was last year – adequate plate discipline and a slugging percentage around or just under .400, he will cost the team runs by being one of the worst hitters at his position in the AL. He’s a hitter who needs to dramatically improve to just be considered below average. That will hurt the team.

    This really isn’t a hard concept to understand, and it’s not subjective.

  31. Goose said

    No a DH doesn’t have to hit homeruns, but I would like my DH to at least slug over .400.

    I wasn’t expecting alot of long balls from Snelling either. I figure the most he’ll ever hit in one season will probably be around 20 or so, and that won’t be for a few more years. But the amount of doubles he’s likely to hit will give him a decent slug. Probably around .430-.475.

    I’ll consider us lucky if Vidro gets between .420-.450

  32. Pineiro has a new home — Boston for 1-year, $4M + $2M in incentives.

    Thoughts?

  33. nighthawk180 said

    Wow

  34. I don’t think Jones has a shot, barring injury, to break camp with the 25-man.

    re: Lineup

    The “projected lineup” the M’s site has up has Vidro ahead of Guillen because Vidro, technically, can bat lefthanded as well, balancing the lineup.

    I’d bat Vidro 11th.

  35. Lance said

    You list Lehr as a possible AAA starter and Barb as a candidate in AA. I thought those two guys are strictly relievers. Am I mistaken, or are they being converted?

  36. Barb can do either, though he’s much better suited for the bullpen, while Lehr had been pretty much a reliever, strictly, but he has 85 career starts and 17 of his 19 appearances last year were in the starting role.

  37. Mr. Egaas said

    M’s lineup has some serious OBP problems, Vidro can put the bat on the ball, maybe poking grounders through the widened gap on the right side when Ichiro stands on first, I’d actually hit him 2nd. But what do I know.

  38. Geoff said

    This question is off topic, but I did not know where to post it. When a player gets called up at the end of the season, what kind of compensation does the player get from the team? In terms of compensation, I mean $$$$.

  39. marinerswinws said

    They prob get the major league minimum.

  40. Jerry said

    RE #38,

    I believe that they get a pro-rated portion of the major league minumum.

    The normal minor league salary, if I remember correctly, is about 40-60 K/Yr. The major league salary is around 350 K/Yr. Thus, if minor league player is promoted for one month, they get a pretty substantial increase in their paycheck, but not the entire 350K salary.

    At least that is how I believe it works.

  41. That’s exactly right.

    If a player is in the bigs for 3 weeks, he gets a pro-rated version of the 360K minimum, in lieu of his minor league pay.

  42. JH said

    The minor league salary doesn’t even sniff 40-60k/year. That only applies to people on the 40 man, or people who’ve exhausted their club control years and signed on after becoming 6-year free agents.

    For players still under club control, the salary varies from about $800/month for rookie ball guys to about $1,600-$1,800/month for Triple-A players (and about $450-$500/month, depending on the team, for summer league players).

    They’re only paid for active season months, as well.

  43. For the sake of the salary question above, the 40-60K was appropriate, because if they were to be called to the bigs, they ARE 40-man members.

  44. JH said

    True, except in rare cases like Luis Oliveros (he wasn’t on the 40-man, was he?).

    You’re right though, it’s not like Jerry made a huge factual error. Any chance to point out that the minor league pay scale puts the vast majority of players far below the poverty level, I take it.

  45. Any player who is ever on the 25-man is also on the 40-man. So if Oliveros was ever in a Seattle uni, he was indeed onthe 40-man also.

    Salary wise, there are exceptions, but very, very few. Usually when clubs go out of their way and sign guys to minor league deals and give them more dough than usual, they too are on the 40-man.

    Burroughs is a good example of one who got MLB dough, (425K) but isn’t currently on the 40-man roster.

  46. Jerry said

    Wow,

    I never realized that the rookie league guys got so little money.

    I am a graduate student – which is about as close to homelessness as you can get – and I make more than that.

    Now I can understand why a lot of players opt for college.

  47. Draftees make their money on the bonuses.

  48. J said

    On a semi-related note (at least to Tacoma), Dan Rohn is now the manager of the Fresno Grizzlies.

  49. JH said

    Oliveros, though, was specifically placed on the 40-man in order to call him up, right?

    I don’t remember him being on the 40-man beforehand.

  50. slim said

    Oliveros was added to the 40 man roster for one game when Petagine was DFA’d because Johjima wanted an extra day back home for the all-star break. He was DFA’d before the next game to add Greg Dobbs to the 40 man and 25 man rosters. Simultaneously, Choo was optioned down to Tacoma, Harris was DFA’d from Peoria, and Jones was added to the 40 man and 25 man rosters.

  51. JH said

    47: some of them do.

    Minaker, the 10th round pick, received $10,000 this year, and beyond that, bonuses for drafted players go down to around and sometimes even under $1,000.

    The vast majority of minor league players are horribly underpaid.

  52. Underpaid, maybe, but they need LESS to live on because they are not paying rent all year long, or for food. And some of them are still dependents.

  53. JH said

    “And some of them are still dependents.”

    Which is why baseball has become almost exclusively an upper-middle class sport in the US. While a lot of US-born players are supported by mommy and daddy in the offseason, the flip side is that a lot of the guys coming out of college have dependents of their own already.

    That’s not to mention the roughly 1/3 of minor league players from Latin America, for whom families themselves can be considered dependents.

    It’s true that players don’t have to pay rent for themselves for half the year, but even adjusting for their cost of living, minor league baseball players make sub-poverty level incomes until they’re placed on a 40-man or signed to a minor league contract, years after they’ve begun their careers.

  54. JH said

    Didn’t mean to generalize about ALL minor leaguers from Latin American nations there.

  55. It’s true that players don’t have to pay rent for themselves for half the year, but even adjusting for their cost of living, minor league baseball players make sub-poverty level incomes until they’re placed on a 40-man or signed to a minor league contract, years after they’ve begun their careers.

    That’s not true. It is for the summer league and short season guys, but the poverty line is, what, 10 grand in the US, or thereabouts? I remember it being just under 10 even in 2005 for a one person family.

    If the players have true dependents, children of their own, the income issues are worse, but still not at poverty levels, especially when these players take their US currency back home…

    All full-season roster members make well-above that line, and considering they have no daily expenses between March and September, it’s not all that bad.

    It sucks that some of these players have families that are basically their own dependents, but that isn’t the fault of MiLB’s salary system at all. The problem is the countries many of them are from are poverty-ridden in the first place, and these players’ parents make nothing – if they work at all.

    I don’t have an issue at all with this salary system. When yer 17, 18, 19 years old, how much were you making?

    I know I wasn’t making jack at 17, 18, and I specifically remember not cracking the 20k mark until the year I turned 20.

  56. Goose said

    I’m 20 and I made 18K in 2006(roughly). I live on my own and don’t any trouble paying my bills, rent, food, gas, whatever and still have a little money in my pocket each month to blow.

    That’s on minimum wage. A person can live on that. Not really well, but it can be done if yeah know how to manage your finances.

  57. JH said

    The Milb salary scale puts players under club controlled contracts for 6 years that max out at under $15k annually. That covers far more people in their mid-20s than in their teens. Just because the best prospects are playing rookie ball from 18-21 doesn’t mean that’s the majority of people who’s staffing minor league teams to give the kids with real shots a functional playing/instructional environment.

    You know this, Jason. Average age for rookie ball isn’t 17-19, it’s 21. Average A-ball age is 23. The other expenses – healthcare, rent, food – pass for legitimate mitigating considerations in a labor negotiation. The excuse that the “kids” should expect to be dirt poor or have mommy and daddy pick up the slack doesn’t. Unfortuantely, minor league players don’t get to have qualified people sit down and negotiate on their behalf, because as the minor league ump strike showed last season, MLB’s a pretty decent union buster when they’re not negotiating with the truly irreplaceable resources.

    These guys get paid to play during the season. That’s 6 months, and I think they get some kind of salary during spring training, which would bump it up to 7. Even at the Triple-A payscale ($1800/month if memory serves me correctly), that’s about $13k/year. For the rookie through A-ballers, it’s $6-8000. You said so yourself during the umpire’s strike, Jason: you can’t get real work during the offseason when you’re chasing the dream of being a part of baseball for half the year. It’s even worse for baseball players, for whom offseason training is a fulltime job if they want to have a chance of making it.

    For about half of the people on the minor league payscale, MiLB salaries don’t equal the poverty line for 1 person. You’re right, it’s about $10k for 1, but shoots up to about $16,500 for a couple with a child. For high minors players, the salary comes in right above the line for 1 person households. Keep in mind that poverty line doesn’t just mean poor. It’s the bare minimum the government estimates that households need to be able to pay for basic needs for a year – food, heat, transportation, etc. On top of it all, the years minor league players are under contract are the years most people are developing skills and work experience that drives up the value of their labor.

    By any reasonable standard of fair labor compensation, minor league baseball players are underpaid. If they have any sort of family life or have ambitions to start a family, they’re borderline impoverished. That’s why Harold Williams had to quit last year to find real work, and he’s not the only person this happens to. In the past 30 years, baseball in this country has changed from a game that was huge in urban areas and with inner city youth to one that’s pretty much only availble to the upper-middle class.

    That minor leaguers are a crucial part of an industry that literally has tens of millions of dollars in surplus cash to throw around just compounds the issue.

  58. It’s still not poverty by any stretch of any sane brain’s imagination. It’s very common for these guys to get winter jobs, particularly those who did not get much of a bonus – of any – when they signed.

    It doesn’t matter what age they are… if yer 24 and in A or AA and can’t cut the mustard, maybe it’s time to start a new career. These players shouldn’t be treated differently than any other profession just because the major leaguers are.

    The salary scales are fine, leave them alone. If the teams are forced to pay more, many of them will make cuts /adjustments in other areas, such as ballpark improvements, ticket and concession pricing, SCOUTING AND PLAYER DEVELOPMENT.

    In the end, there’s nothing wrong at all with a minor leaguer, age 18 or 25, having to work another gig in the offseason.

  59. john said

    Jason, I read that Ichiro has told papers in japan he wants out of seattle, If thats the case would the club get a new cf via free agency or trade or call up someone? Or give reed another chance?I Think Jones will do fine, but that makes the M’s extremly righty heavy. I noteced Michael Wilson is a switch hitter, what type of player do you think he will he turn into?

  60. Reed isn’t in the long-term plans… if Ichiro leaves, it’s Jones’ job and the whole righty-;efty thing isn’t a concern, at least not in center.

    Ichiro hit like a righty anyways — much better versus lefties than righties.

    Wilson is a right-handed bat, he hasn’t switch hit in quite some time.

  61. steve said

    I’m curious about a closer neamed Byron Embry. Is there any word he will be somewhere in the Mariners organization in 007? It appears he has had fairly good numbers in limited time wherever he goes. Why doesn’t this guy get more innings?

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