If the team doesn’t start matching their words with corresponding actions, though, that reputation as a haven for minor-leaguers might begin to recede a bit.
As if “importing stars to block a prospect’s pathway at the drop of a hat” wasn’t enough of a deterrent for foreign signees and UDFAs, it seems the Dodgers are skimping on recently-installed protocols for minor-league talent, according to some snooping by the watchdog group Advocates for Minor Leaguers.
Per sources, the Dodgers (along with the White Sox and Nationals) posted notices in their minor-league clubhouses this spring asking players to pay dues of varying degrees, a practice that had supposedly been eliminated in 2020.
A goodwill gesture towards minor-leaguers silently being repealed/revealed to be just lip service? Who could’ve seen that coming?
Dodgers forcing minor-leaguers to pay clubhouse dues?
It’s difficult to tell which of the charges above is more absurd: the patronizing $3 per day (three dollars?!) or the chunky $115 lump sum payment demanded of all pitchers and catchers? And via Venmo? Is this a Major League organization asking its players to chip in additional cash while they’re being paid relative peanuts, or is it your roommate asking you to split the chips and guac you ordered for the table?
Combine this with the purchasing power lost as the International Draft potentially looms, and you’d certainly hate for the Dodgers’ position to slip due to an unforced error at a time they can ill afford a lapse. Los Angeles is among the upper echelon of smart teams in MLB, but as Andrew Friedman’s peers and disciples take over big-market behemoths like the Red Sox and Giants, any minor slip will be a foothold for the competition.
Of course, plenty of young baseball players have no choice over where their big-league fate lies, and do not possess the ability to defect from the Dodgers if they fear mistreatment. That’s, of course, why this whole thing is so insidious. Baseball teams are allowed to behave however they feel like behind closed doors with their precious young assets, hoping no one will pry further after a boilerplate statement or two.
Hey, Dodgers: pay your prospects back. You’ve got their Venmo, right?