According to a report by Britt Ghiroli and Emily C. Waldon at The Athletic on Sunday, the Washington Nationals, who’d reportedly cut 24-to-30-plus players from their own minor affiliates last week, are going to continue paying the remaining minor leaguers through June, though at a reduced rate of $300 a week, down from the $400 they were getting.
All 30 MLB teams announced in March that they would pay their minor leaguers the $400 a week through first April 8th, when the minor league season was supposed to start, and they extended that (and medical coverage) through May 31st (or a potential opening day), in late March, after baseball was shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Nationals cut 30 players & will pay the remaining MiLBers $300/wk- a 25% cut.— Britt Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) May 31, 2020
"I wish the owners really weighed how much that $100 they cut us back is saving them vs how much it helps puts food on the table for us & our families.”
With @EmilyCWaldon: https://t.co/ztG2YokBEY
Nats’ GM Mike Rizzo told reporters in March that the club had plans to take care of their own minor leaguers before the MLB-wide plan was announced.
“This is something that we were certainly prepared to do without MLB’s authority if it came to that,” Rizzo explained.
“We did want to wait to see what Major League Baseball would do for us to make our move, but these minor league players are not only of great importance to Major League Baseball and the Washington Nationals, these are the next star players for the Nationals. These are the next union members for the MLBPA.
“So these guys are of great importance to baseball and certainly to the Washington Nationals.”
The former minor league player, scout, and scouting director was happy to be able to announce the plan for compensation.
“I feel very, very fortunate that we’re able to take care of these minor league players. They are near and dear to my heart,” Rizzo said.
As one minor leaguer who was not cut last week told The Athletic reporters, while he was happy to still be receiving the stipend, and felt for those who were cut at a time when the options they have for income are seriously limited, he wished that the team understood it was tough to receive less money right now.
“I wish the owners really weighed how much that $100 they cut us back is saving them versus how much it helps put food on the table for us and our families.”
Rizzo told reporters in March that he understood the difficult situation for minor leaguers even in good times.
“I was one of them for many, many years, and I remember the trials and tribulations of being a minor league player. In the best of times, there’s a struggle.”
“Going back to my days as a minor leaguer I played for $850 a month for living in Rohnert Park, California in 1984, so it’s a tough existence, and just a little bit more certainty on their part to kind of soothe them through this pandemic until it ends.”
“We’re certainly going to continue to work with MLB for an industry-wide plan for our minor league player compensation. It’s something that we’re going to be aggressive with here with the Nationals because it is so near and dear to my heart and the Lerners’, so we’re going to work with MLB diligently to get that done.”
The latest decision to continue to pay remaining minor leaguers through June at the $300 reduced rate comes after the club decided against furloughs and layoffs of employees but did decide on pay cuts of 10-25% for the team’s non-player staff last week.
According to a note he posted on Twitter last night, Sean Doolittle (and some of his major league teammates) will be, “coming together and committing funds to make whole the lost wages from [the] weekly stipends,” of minor league players in the Nationals’ organization:
Shortly after the news on the Nationals’ minor leaguers came out, multiple reports said that the MLBPA on Sunday countered MLB’s proposal for how to handle a potential 2020 season, releasing their own plan which you can read about in the tweets below...
The MLBPA delivered a proposal to MLB on Sunday afternoon, a source familiar with it tells ESPN. It includes 114-game season that would end October 31, the right to opt out of the season for all players and potential deferral of salaries if 2020 the postseason were canceled.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 1, 2020
The inclusion of potential deferrals by players is an olive branch, even if it does apply just to a canceled postseason.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 1, 2020
It would defer $100M total, applied to players making $10M+ before proration, and would do so with interest to make players whole. It opens the door to more.
• Deferral would be ONLY if the postseason is canceled. Would apply to contracts of $10 million above (before being prorated). Payments would be in November 2021 and 2022.— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) June 1, 2020
• Either way, players would get additional salary advance during spring training camp of $100 million.
Union/player response to MLB proposal calls for 114 games (as opposed to 82). Regular season through October (instead of September), prorated but with some deferrals (instead of steep sliding scale). “No progress,” responds ownership source.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) June 1, 2020
“Non starter,” is the way one ownership person responded to the players’ response. The good news; There’s probably still a week to figure this out.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) June 1, 2020