Cubs and Giants give minor leaguers ahead-of-schedule pay raises

Why wait?

“Just from a personal standpoint, I’m excited that we were able to do it,’’ said Farhan Zaidi, president of baseball operations for the Giants, according to the Associated Press. “I think that it does a lot of good for the organization. I think it’s the right thing to do, and we’re kind of looking forward to having it in place.

“It’s a quality-of-life issue. It’s a convenience issue. It’s a time issue, and just getting a better sense of all that, something we’ll continue to evaluate.’’

The Cubs are giving the same 50 percent raise Toronto granted.

The Giants’ raises, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, are higher than the 38-72 percent raises MLB said it would unilaterally implement after the 2020 season.

The Giants also will include a housing allowance for their Double A and Triple A players.

The Red Sox did not immediately respond to an inquiry about whether they had any plans to raise the pay of their minor leaguers.

Minor leaguers are not paid during spring training. They are exempt from minimum wage and overtime laws, thanks to a 2018 federal act. The current weekly minimum wage for players in Single A and lower is $290. The Double A minimum is $350, and in Triple A it’s $502.

MLB and Minor League Baseball resumed face-to-face labor negotiations in Dallas Thursday, but there was no initial word from either side characterizing the talks.

As detailed in Baseball America, minor league players will not receive any compensation when the video game MLB The Show 2020 is released in March. That’s because the minor league contracts players sign once they turn pro essentially disallows them from being paid for the use of their name and likeness on video games, as well as baseball cards and any kind of publicity.

Once called up to the majors, a player will start to get paid because Sony pays MLB and the players’ union as well as the MLB Alumni Association for the rights to use their logos, trademarks, and nicknames in addition to their likenesses.

MiLB, the league, gets paid as well for use of its logos and trademarks.

Book it

As media companies continue to partner up with sports books (see: the $163 investment Penn National Gaming made in Barstool Sports), NBC Sports is the last holdout among the sports media behemoths. CBS is with William Hill, ESPN and Turner Sports with Caesars Entertainment, Fox Sports with Stars Group, and Yahoo Sports with BetMGM.

But expect NBC to go in, big, based in large part on the success of its “NBC Sports Predictor,” which allows users to win cash prizes on NBC offerings such as NASCAR, the PGA Tour, the NFL, and the Premier League, according to Front Office Sports.

“In one year, we’ve developed a database of a million people who are making sports predictions,” said Will McIntosh, executive vice president for NBC Sports digital and consumer business. “Those same people will likely want to place casual bets on sporting events.

“I think we are going to try to evolve NBC Sports and our digital properties to be the place that, in particular, the casual bettor comes to get news and information relevant to betting.”

Kings of the hill

Visits by skiers in Vermont last winter crested at 4.2 million, a 5.6 percent jump from the winter before, according to NSAA Kottke End of Season Survey and the Sports Business Journal. Colorado leads, by far, all states with 13.8 million visitors, with California next at 6.6 million, then Utah at 5 million, followed by Vermont. California and Utah were in a virtual tie for biggest jump from the year before, at nearly 22 percent. New Hampshire is eighth, with 2.1 million skiers, up 7 percent from the last winter . . . European soccer stars tweet the most valuable tweets, according to a study cited by Sports Pro. Cristiano Ronaldo’s tweets are worth $868,000. Andres Iniesta ($591,000) and Neymar ($478,000) are next, with LeBron James placing fourth at $470,000. Highest for women athletes was 13th place for Serena Williams at $116,000 per tweet . . . The absence of the Patriots was at least partly to blame for Rhode Island’s dip in how much was bet on the Super Bowl this year: $5.5 million, down from $6.5 million the year before, according to Legal Sports Report. In its first exposure to Super Bowl betting, New Hampshire saw $2.3 million in bets.

Michael Silverman can be reached at Follow him on Twitter: @MikeSilvermanBB

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