Shortly after the reports last night which said the defending World Series champion Washington Nationals had decided to pay their remaining minor league players through at least the end of June, (after 30-40 minor leaguers — depending on the report — were cut earlier this month), but at a reduced stipend of $300 a week instead of the $400 they had been receiving, Nats’ reliever Sean Doolittle tweeted a statement which said that he and his teammates had decided to make up the difference to get the players back to the previous rate.
“After hearing that [Nationals’] minor league players are facing additional pay cuts, the current members of the Washington Nationals Major League Baseball club will be coming together and committing funds to make whole the lost wages from their weekly stipends,” Doolittle wrote.
“All of us were minor leaguers at one point in our careers and we know how important the weekly stipends are for them and their families during these uncertain times.”
Minor league players have been getting the stipend since mid-March with the baseball world and the majority of the country shut down amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but the agreement was only previously extended through May 31st.
“Minor leaguers are an essential part of our organization,” the reliever added, “and they are bearing the heaviest burden of this situation as their season is likely to be cancelled. We recognize that and want to stand with them and show our support.”
Whether it was the show of support from within the organization, or how the move was received publicly over the last 12-ish hours since the reports came out, the club apparently has decided to change course (assuming initial reports were accurate, which we assume they were), with multiple reporters this afternoon confirming that the remaining minor leaguers will in fact continue to receive their $400 a week stipend.
[ed. note - “In Britt Ghiroli’s update on the quickly-evolving story at The Athletic this afternoon, she notes that a memo from the team today said that m, “[u]pon further internal discussion,” the minor leaguers would still get $400 a week in June, which implies that the club is actually reversing course after initially, as reported by Ghiroli and others, deciding to lower the stipend to $300 a week.”]
[ed. note 2 - “It appears 106.7 the Fan in D.C.’s Grant Paulsen was first with the latest news, though all of the tweets that follow showed up in our timeline at around the same time.”]
As of last night, Nats minor leaguers were expecting to have their pay cut to $300/ week. Players decided they'd foot the bill to make up the $400 a month they'd be losing.— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) June 1, 2020
But the source tells me the Lerners have decided the team is going to continue paying $400 a month now.
The Nationals are indeed now reversing course and paying their minor league players, sources tell me and @EmilyCWaldon. Memo said "Upon further internal discussion,” the team decided to not cut salaries.— Britt Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) June 1, 2020
Source: Nationals owners have decided to pay minor leaguers $400 a week after deciding to cut the stipend from $400 to $300.— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) June 1, 2020