Houston Astros to provide furnished housing to minor league players

The Houston Astros are providing furnished apartments to minor league players at all levels for the 2021 season, believed to be the first big league club to do so.

Players with the Triple-A Sugar Land Skeeters, Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks, High-A Fayetteville Woodpeckers, Low-A Asheville Tourists and the franchise's Gulf Coast League team were offered housing ahead of last week's opening day, the Astros said Wednesday, confirming a report by The Athletic.

Housing has been among the greatest difficulties facing minor league players, many of whom will make as little as $10,000 this season despite pay raises introduced for 2021.

Players are unable to use host families this season due to COVID-19 restrictions, and even in past years, they have routinely lived in overcrowded apartments, slept on air mattresses, or in the case of one thrifty minor leaguer, converted a school bus into a mobile home.

Shuttling between levels is especially tricky, with players needing to find housing for undetermined amounts of time with only a day or two of notice.

The San Francisco Giants said in February of 2020 that they would begin providing allowances to cover housing, but players remain frustrated by the lack of support from teams.

MLB mandated pay raises for minor leaguers beginning this season that brought minimum weekly pay at Class A from $290 to $500. Double-A jumped from $350 to $600, and Triple-A from $502 to $700. Players are compensated only during the five-month regular season.