Marlins In Hot Water With MLBPA Over Per Diems

We all know the Florida Marlins are well-known for their frugal nature, but it appears that the team is so cheap that they’re getting out of paying per diem money to rehabbing players because their spring training complex is so close to home.

Billy Marlin

(Pay for your own food, Billy)

Which then leads to this revelation: baseball players get per diem money? That’s right, even A-Rod, who pulls in a cool $27.5 million a year, gets an allowance on the road. I mean, you wouldn’t want these guys having to pay for their gentleman’s club outings on their own dime, right?

It’s hard to feel sorry for professional athletes not getting a petty allowance to pay for food and stuff, but according to the SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL the Marlins have repeatedly failed to adhere to the rules of the Collective Bargaining Agreement:

The Collective Bargaining Agreement specifies that disabled players not traveling on the road with the team should receive “the full allowance if he is residing at a hotel or motel in either the metropolitan area of the club, or one to which the player has gone at the request of the club.”

Part of the grievance stems from the Marlins giving injured players per diem only when the team is on the road and not at home.

The issue at hand is that the Marlins’ spring training complex, where players are usually sent to rehab injuries, is in Jupiter, which is about 85 miles north of Miami. The Marlins seem to think that when they’re playing games in Miami, that players rehabbing in Jupiter are “home” and thus not in need of a per diem. This basically saves the team from having to pay out per diems to injured players 81 times a year.

And while the Marlins do cover hotel stays for players in Jupiter, they don’t cover expenses for those who may be on an extended stay and decide to rent an apartment:

Another issue is housing expenses. The Marlins cover local hotel stays, but players who are facing a protracted rehab and decide to rent apartments in or near Jupiter do so on their own dime.

According to the CBA, disabled players “receive no allowance if he is residing at his in-season residence or permanent residence in the metropolitan area of the club, which residence is not a hotel or motel.”

So, it depends on what your definition of “metropolitan area” is. The Marlins seem to think that if you rent a place to live that’s 85 miles away, that equates to “living at home” and thus the team is under no obligation to pay the allowance.

I imagine that the Rays have taken advantage of this over the years, but they’ve had their spring training complex in St. Petersburg since the team’s inception, meaning that players rehabbing at their site can just live at home (the Rays are moving 85 miles away to Port Charlotte for spring training next year).

The players’ union has field a grievance, which could lead to the Marlins having to cough up more than $100,000 in back payments if they’re found guilty of bending the rules. And for them, that’s like a whole game’s worth of ticket revenue.