Spare Parts: Minor league housing plan taking shape; the Guardians are here

Major League Baseball’s plan for providing housing to most minor-league players is taking shape, and while MLB’s long-running disregard for the well being of its future contributors is fuel for natural skepticism, it seems as though the league is actually addressing the task in a sensible manner.

By assuming responsibility of leases, they’re attacking the thorniest issue for minor leaguers:

Housing permitted for minor leaguers during the regular season will include apartments and rental homes, while host families are still permitted provided all members of the family pass a background check. Any of these options must be located within a reasonable distance from the player’s home ballpark. Housing options during spring training can include dormitories and hotel rooms.

Notably, the memo notes that leases are not permitted. Players will not sign any lease or utility agreements. Those will now be the responsibility of the major league team. That is an important development for minor league players—leases often remained in a player’s name after they were promoted or demoted, requiring them to pay for their lease at their previous level in addition to their new level.

The unwillingness to risk juggling multiple leases is a big reason why players shared accommodations to unhealthy degrees. Shifting the management of leases to teams is a natural proposition, because the size of a roster only fluctuates by a few players over the course of a season, whereas an individual can move once or twice a month.

If you’re still looking for a catch, I can see this being wielded as an additional expense if MLB wants to reduce the size of Minor League Baseball further when the 10-year player-development agreements expire. I’d also hope that this is largely managed at the parent club level, because most affiliate employees are already overloaded with duties at unremarkable salaries. For the time being, this sounds like a necessary step in making Minor League Baseball accessible to players of all backgrounds. The grind of getting to the majors won’t lose any of its merit if players sleep on actual beds, no matter what Adam Eaton says.


The MLB commissioner spoke at length at a press conference concluding the owners meetings in Chicago, which is notable in and of itself. He didn’t dodge the idea that the league might lock out the players, but he’s treating it as a minor winter disruption, and not yet something that could make livelihoods uncomfortable. He also mentioned that the tacky balls being used in the Arizona Fall League could make their way into the majors by next season, although he also mentioned 2023 as a possibility.

Tyler Kepner brings Minnie Miñoso’s Hall of Fame case to a national audience, including this quote by Negro Leagues Baseball Musuem president Bob Kendrick:

“It should have happened when he was still with us, and I know how much it meant to him,” Kendrick said of the possibility of Miñoso’s being elected to the Hall of Fame, adding later: “I just think we have a chance to get it right this time. We’re here as an institution to continually try to educate people about these legendary ballplayers who built the bridge. Minnie was one of those bridge builders, and those who become bridge builders in our society have a very special place. Minnie Miñoso did that.”

Joining Miñoso on the ballot is Billy Pierce, and while Jay Jaffe isn’t as enamored with Pierce’s credentials, he gives Pierce his due in the form of a terrific career overview.

Lance Lynn says that his right knee won’t need offseason surgery, but it will be something to manage for the rest of his career in what’s hopefully the only immediate concession to the aging process.

Lynn talked up not only Kopech’s ability, but the White Sox’s pitching infrastructure that can help a guy in his position finish his development.

“He’s got a pitching coach that has the ability to not only simplify things, but also make sure that he’s got everything that he needs to have as much success as possible,” Lynn said. “I know Michael is going to lean on us guys that have been in the rotation on how to handle things and how to do things. Not only does he want to be good, but he’s willing to listen and learn and do everything he can to do the best possible.”

When it comes to awards season, unanimity is overrated (ask Dan Szymborski about being the only voter to put Jonathan India second on his NL Rookie of the Year ballot). That said, when somebody like Shohei Ohtani posts the kind of season that no living human ever thought possible, you hope that everybody with a ballot understands and appreciates what we witnessed. That turned out to be the case.

It took a little extra time to settle a trademark dispute with a roller derby team, but the Cleveland baseball franchise has officially shifted all of its properties from “Indians” to “Guardians.” It’ll be a little weird to the eyes and ears, but the adjustment will be a welcome task.

Speaking of the Guardians — let’s get some practice — the White Sox are the only AL Central team whose regional sports network is not endangered by Sinclair Broadcast Corp.’s highly leveraged acquisition of Fox Sports properties in 2019. The Guardians, Twins, Royals and Tigers all air their games under the Bally Sports flag. It’s not a great forecast for any RSN, but with NBC Sports Chicago, the Sox seem to be on stabler footing than at least half the league, and the rest of the division.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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Would you let a guy named Dan Lust buy you a drink? Perhaps it’s truth in advertising.


Is Marquee a Sinclair station or it is its own thing?


It is co-owned by Sinclair and the Cubs, IIRC, so it is a bit different than the former Fox Sports RSNs purchased by Sinclair.

Last edited 1 year ago by jorgefabregas
Joliet Orange Sox

I enjoyed the Jay Jaffe piece on Billy Pierce except for this line in the last paragraph:

“Given his comparatively modest postseason impact and collection of honors — particularly compared to Ford, a pitcher I think WAR and JAWS significantly underrates — Pierce doesn’t appear worthy of a vote in this context.”

Why write an entire article of analysis that makes the point Pierce and Ford were comparable in many stats if in the end you are just going to say that you think Ford is underrated by those stats? I think the case that Ford deserves the HOF because of his postseason success may be unfair to players of that era not on the Yankees but at least it doesn’t casually brush away the entire analysis up to that point in the article in a single sub-clause.

Whitey Ford is pretty much before my time (although I was alive for his last several seasons but too young to follow baseball) but I grew up in a world where my dad and my uncles often discussed Ford vs. Pierce and I will point out that “underrated” is not a word I expected to see associated with Ford.

Joliet Orange Sox

I agree with the case that Whitey Ford is more worthy of the HOF than Billy Pierce. I think the lost years are among the factors that make the Ford case stronger but the article never mentions Ford’s lost years. My point is that the author just asserts Ford is underrated by WAR without justifying that statement.

Last edited 1 year ago by Joliet Orange Sox

Still seems weird to think the Sox are in a better spot with the NBC sports tag considering the channel itself is going away in a month or so. I wonder if the channel will get another rebranding.