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What Money Means To Minor Leaguers

The other day, I was negotiating with a General Manager of a Winter Ball team that is interested in signing one of my clients to play for him.  He originally offered my client $1,000 less than I was hoping for, but included a shared apartment.  The stated offer is not a figure to complain about, but is less than what I would expect the client to be paid based on what the team paid its players last year.  My goal is to get him some extra cash, even if it is $1,000 more per month.  While it may not seem like a large increase, to a minor league player, an extra $1,000 a month quite a jump.

As we were talking on the phone, I remembered an article that I recently read titled, Minor League Baseball: Investing In The Future, which is a fantastic piece that should be read in its entirety by all baseball players and people who wish to represent them.

Minor League players are lucky to earn not much more than $10,000 per season; Winter Ball can be a nice bonus for strong in-season performance.  More importantly, it helps players fine-tune their skills in the off-season.  But back to the money, Winter Ball cash is likely even more important to a player drafted in a later round who did not have great leverage when negotiating his first contract.  That player might not have much of a signing bonus to rely on as he makes his way through his organization’s farm system.  The bonus babies do not have the same concern over a thousand dollars in a Winter Ball contract.

It is something that is not highly documented, but players within each team’s farm system come from different socioeconomic backgrounds and receive different signing bonuses after being drafted.  The latter part of that statement affects not only what kind of economic situation a player might be dealing with, but it also changes the type of attention and number of chaces that the player will have to perform, even though he might be going through a slump or two in his career.  It is the politics of baseball, and it is the reason why I spend my time seeking even the slightest increase in salary for a later-round client, just so that he might be able to live just a little bit more comfortably throughout the year.

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

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