American Association Raises Rookie Salaries to Accommodate Federal Law

American Association Raises Rookie Salaries to Accommodate Federal LawAmerican Association Daily provides insights and features on the American Association of Professional Baseball League, as well as player and coaching profiles and transactions going on with teams around the league. In today’s edition, Robert Pannier discusses changes to the salary structure of the American Association to accommodate the new Save America’s Pastime Act. This plus numerous transactions around the league. 

Players Reach Minimum Wage

When the United States Congress passed the Save America’s Pastime Act as part of the new budget bill, there was a lot of speculation as to how this would affect independent baseball. For the minor leagues it was not much of an issue. After all, player salaries are paid by the Major League clubs and those owners had plenty of money to pay the additional salaries involved.

However, what would happen to the independent leagues was an entirely different story. Most of these leagues paid at least some of their players far below what would be minimum wage, or at least $1,160 per month.

Changes to the American Association

The American Association was one league that was not meeting the new standard. Rookies, in particular, were making far below the standard, paid about $800 per month.

It was speculated that the raise in salaries would be the end of many of these leagues. Many of the independent leagues, including the Pecos and Frontier Leagues and the Pacific Association, pay salaries far below the scale and the doomsday predication was that they would be done.

There were even worries about what would happen in the American Association. How would they accommodate the new law, while still maintaining the salary cap and including veterans who desire a higher wage? Would this league be doomed as well?

It seemed as if the league was not concerned by it at all. At the most recent owner’s meeting, the subject was not even raised, and so it was believed (by me as well) that they had already worked something out to address the problem.

That appears to be the case, but not as many had thought. Prior to Spring Training beginning, the American Association approved an increase for rookies of $400 a month and an increase in the salary cap of $10,000. This meant that players who were making less than this amount had their contracts rewritten to meet the new standard.

How this affects some of the other independent leagues is still up for debate, but there is no doubt that the American Association will be running as normal for years to come

American Association Daily Notes

There were a number of player transactions on Tuesday as the season is just two days away. The Chicago Dogs placed LHP Scott Barnes on the DL…The Cleburne Railroaders C Jordan Dean was also put on the disabled list…The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks put RHP Jose Nivar on the inactive list…The Gary Southshore RailCats traded RHP Justin Sinabaldi to Lake Erie (Frontier League)…The Kansas City T-Bones traded C Christian Correa to Sussex County (Can-Am League) for a player to be named later. The T-Bones sent RHPs Kyle Hansen and Travis Hissong to Rockland (Can-Am League), and IF Jason Rogers to New Britain (Can-Am League) all for players to be named later. RHP Jackson Lowery was put on the disabled list…The Lincoln Saltdogs put IF Cesar Valera on the DL and traded LHP Cesilio Pimentel to the Sioux Falls Canaries for C Michael Hart. Pimentel split time between the Saltdogs and the RedHawks last season where he was a combined 6-3 with a 4.37 ERA in 17 appearances. Lincoln also acquired OF Chad Hinshaw from the St. Paul Saints for a player to be named later. Hinshaw was with AAA-New Orleans (Miami Marlins) last season, where he hit .229 in 81 games with 4 homers and 24 RBI…The Saints placed OF Jordan Smith on the DL…The Sioux City Explorers signed IF David Kerian. Kerian spent two seasons in the Washington Nationals system before joining Windy City (Frontier League) last year. He hit .151 in 38 games…The Canaries placed LHP Bo Hellquist and RHP Jake Smith on the inactive list….The Texas AirHogs signed RHP Connor Costello, OF Stewart Ijames, and LHP Sterling Wynn. Ijames split time between AA-Jackson and AAA-Reno (Arizona Diamondbacks) last season, hitting .223 in 57 games. Wynn was with Low-A Spokane (Texas Rangers) in 2017, going 0-1 in 7 appearances. They also re-signed Casio Grider…The Winnipeg Goldeyes dealt OF Jonathan Moroney to the Chicago Dogs for future considerations. Moroney was with the Salina Stockade last season, where he hit .294 in 50 games with 18 runs scored and 16 RBI.

By Robert Pannier
Member of the IBWAA