Your favorite Major League Baseball Player once played in the minor leagues. Read that sentence and let it stick with you when you surf through social media and read about the hand that minor league players are being dealt in the midst of COVID-19 along with the negotiations between MLBPA and MLB.
Your favorite player once stormed the trenches with insufficient funds given to him by the organization he played for or even currently plays for, he braved the storm of the unknown and although there is a chance that he wanted to hang up his cleats for good — he did not drown in the sea of extreme competition and ultimately he did not give up.
Your favorite player ate sack lunches, spent countless nights in hotel rooms, slept on couches in the off-season, became an Uber driver and asked family members for money just to be able to eat off of the McDonalds’ dollar menu and survive.
He didn’t just miraculously make $14 million in a year. He worked for it. He gave everything for it. And here’s the biggest problem, your next favorite player might have just been told he won’t be paid for the 2020 “season” — yes, you read that correctly.
As Twitter continued to burn from the first reports of the negotiation talks today, word broke that the Oakland A’s organization announcing they would no longer pay minor league players after May 31, 2020. These men will not see another check from the A’s organization until next April. Yes, that’s in 2021.
To help one who doesn’t follow with the current MiLB situation — please understand that players are already poorly compensated without being in the middle of a global pandemic leaving most unemployed outside of the sports industry. For those who are unaware minimum salary often ranges from ~$290 per week for rookie leaguers ($3,480 for a three-month season) to ~$500 per week for players at Triple A ($10,000 for a five-month season) — reminder, most of these men have young families.
The Oakland organization did announce that players’ health insurance will continue to be subsidized despite pay. “Unfortunately, considering all of the circumstances affecting the organization at this time, we have decided not to continue your $400 weekly stipend beyond May 31,” Oakland GM David Forst said in an email sent to all minor leaguers within the organization.
In addition, the email stated that players do not become free agents and are not free to sign with other teams. So essentially, these men are not only not receiving payment this season, they cannot go to another team as a free agent that would pay them.
It is also worth noting that the Baltimore Orioles released 37 minor league players, the Colorado Rockies released RHP Tim Melville last week and as of tonight, the Chicago White Sox has released 25 minor leaguers.
There aren’t many rainbows or even a sun shining right now in the baseball world. Only time will tell if fans, players and writers will see the 2020 season unfold and begin.
(Photo Credit: AP Photo)