Philadelphia Phillies exposed for unfair treatment of minor leaguers
Philadelphia Phillies exposed as one of the only MLB teams not providing fair housing to their minor leaguers
It’s embarrassing to exceed the luxury tax threshold and continue to be an under-.500 team with infuriating inconsistency.
It’s far more embarrassing to exceed the luxury tax threshold and then get exposed for mistreating your minor leaguers.
According to the nonprofit Advocates for Minor Leaguers, that’s exactly what the Philadelphia Phillies are doing. The advocacy group reported this week that the Phillies are among the teams not providing each minor leaguer with their own bedroom.
This news is shameful for several reasons. For starters, I commended the Phillies last season for taking better care of their minor leaguers than most MLB organizations. Sure, the bar was low, but they cleared it when most didn’t. Now that the standards have been raised, they’re under the bar just like they’re under .500.
In September 2021, Andrew McCutchen became the first major leaguer to wear one of AFML’s #FairBall wristbands during a Phillies game, the day after Phillies and Mets’ affiliates wore them in their final game of the minor-league season. Cutch is a long-time, vocal supporter of the minor leagues, so it wasn’t a surprise.
That week, Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski denied that the organization had tried to silence or reprimand anyone for wearing the bands. It was about as believable as his show of support for Joe Girardi.
A month later, ESPN reported that beginning with the 2022 season, MLB would require all teams to provide housing for all minor leaguers, either through stipends or lodging.
During the lockout, former first-overall pick and current Phillies minor-league pitcher Mark Appel spoke out on Twitter about minor leaguers not getting paid during Spring Training.
Finally, and most outrageous of all, there’s the fact that the Phillies are spending more on their big-league roster than ever before. For the first time in franchise history, they exceeded the luxury tax threshold to build a lineup of super sluggers and overhaul their bullpen. Among all 30 teams, they have the fourth-highest payroll ($232,732,614) and the fifth-highest luxury tax allocations ($238,434,135).
So basically, the Phillies can pay Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos a combined $39M this season but can’t give each minor leaguer their own bedroom? According to multiple executives around the league, it would cost each team less than $1M to house their minor leaguers for the season.
The math absolutely does not add up.
Perhaps, if the Phillies put even half as much effort into their farm system as they do into building these underperforming rosters every year, they’d develop better prospects.
More importantly, these are grown men being paid under the poverty line and having to share rooms like they’re on a school trip. It’s morally wrong, and it’s appalling that the league doesn’t care.