Major League Baseball players are now into the second week of the season, with some teams hitting the road for the first time.
A road trip for big leaguers can be more enjoyable than being at home because of the negotiated perks the players are provided according to their collective bargaining agreement.
The average salary for an MLB player this season is over $4 million, and every penny can stay in their bank account when they hit the road.
Each player is given “walking around” money or a per diem if you prefer a fancier title. This year it has been increased to $117.50 per day that players can use on food and tips if the team doesn’t provide meals. If meals are provided on the road, the players get $34.50 per day.
Also written into the agreement are accommodation requirements, and teams have to stay in luxury hotels, and every player gets their own room. Not like the old days were players had a roommate on the road.
Another thing owners and players worked out in the new collective bargaining agreement is minimum salaries for players, which start at $700,000 and rise to $780,000 in 2026, the final year of the agreement.
What’s interesting is what players can negotiate into their contracts with teams, outside of the standard perks they get for being members of their union. Pitcher Kenta Maeda was contractually guaranteed to have uniform No. 18. He also worked into his contract four round-trip business class tickets between the U.S. and Japan each year, an interpreter, and housing expenses for a personal assistant.
According to the LA Times, Jon Lester of the Cubs worked 25 hours of private air travel each season into his contract.
Mike Trout and Bryce Harper are guaranteed suites on the road. Albert Pujols got a luxury suite for ten games each season.
The bottom line? It pays if you can hit or throw a curveball.