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Washington Nationals to pay minor leaguers at reduced rate through June + MLBPA sends MLB counter proposal on 2020 campaign...

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News on the Nationals’ minor leaguers and the MLBPA’s response to MLB’s plans for a potential 2020 season...

MLB: OCT 13 NLDS Game 5 - Dodgers at Nationals Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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.

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.

UPDATE:

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:

MEANWHILE...

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...