All over baseball, teams are cutting minor leaguers to save costs, and in some cases, not paying minor leaguers still employed by the team. The Royals have bucked those trends by committing to pay minor leaguers the entire summer, without mass releases, according to reporter Jon Heyman.
KC Royals are paying their minor leaguers for the whole year, And no releases. Here’s word from KC: “Haven’t had any (minors releases) and won’t through the the summer. !!!” Great organization with a heart!— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) May 29, 2020
The Minnesota Twins joined the Royals, agreeing to pay their minor leaguers throughout the summer. The Royals and Twins are certainly going against the grain as many other teams have released hundreds of players in the past week. The Mariners, Brewers, Reds, Mets, Nationals, Orioles, Rockies, Braves, Diamondbacks, Rays, Red Sox, and Blue Jays have all cut players this week, with the Mariners cutting over 50 players.
In normal years, cuts happen but not en masse like this. The fallout from the coronavirus, expected minor league contraction and the anticipated cancellation of the 2020 minor league season prompted organizations each to release dozens of players, who were being paid $400 a week.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) May 28, 2020
MLB teams are looking to eliminate affiliations with up to 42 minor league teams.
Even those minor leaguers that still have jobs may have to go without pay. Minor leaguers in the Oakland Athletics organization will not be paid after May 31. Despite not being compensated, those players will not allowed to become free agents and it is not clear they will even be eligible to apply for unemployment benefits.
Some teams have also furloughed or cut salaries for non-playing employees. The Marlins furloughed up to 100 team employees, the Cubs and Dodgers have cut some top salaries for non-player personnel, and the Rays have done both.
Additionally, the Royals will not have any layoffs or furloughs. Nearly 150 employees will not take pay cuts. Higher-level employees will take tiered cuts, but the organization plans to make them whole when greater revenues start coming in next year. https://t.co/yZCcMT6ecr— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) May 29, 2020
MLB teams are facing a season that will likely have half the games of a typical season, likely with no fans, or very few fans allowed to attend games. Owners have claimed that gate-related revenues make up 40 percent of overall revenues.
Dayton Moore has talked a lot about the culture of an organization and treating people like family, so it is encouraging to see those words backed up by action. It is also good to see that the new ownership led by John Sherman is on board with that sentiment, putting up the money to make that sentiment true. This has already been a trying season for so many people, having the security of a steady paycheck for those minor leaguers should be at least a small comfort.