The coronavirus outbreak has indefinitely shelved baseball. Thankfully, however, it appears that it won’t leave minor league players without a paycheck.
On Thursday — just a week before when the MLB season was about to start — the league announced a plan to pay their out-of-work minor leaguers. The plan covers the players until the originally-scheduled start of the minor league season, with plans to continue pay as long as the season remains suspended.
A league-wide initiative has been announced for Minor League players to receive compensation between now and the scheduled start of the Minor League season. @MLB will continue to work with all 30 Clubs on the development of an industry-wide plan for compensation beyond 4/8. pic.twitter.com/Ck8Lv9uuzp— MLB Communications (@MLB_PR) March 19, 2020
The statement reads as follows:
Since last week, Major League Baseball has been engaged in a variety of discussions with stakeholders to identify ways to blunt the wide-ranging impact of the national emergency resulting from the global coronavirus pandemic. As those conversations continue, MLB is announcing today a league-wide initiative that will create a level of uniform compensation for Minor League players, covering the period between now and the originally scheduled start of the minor league season. MLB is taking this initial step today because of the effects of the season’s postponement on Minor League players and their families. MLB intends to continue working with all 30 Clubs to identify additional ways to support those players as a result of the delayed 2020 season.
Each player who is under a Minor League Uniform Player Contract will receive a lump sum equal to the allowances that would have been paid through April 8th. The exceptions to this plan are non-40-man-roster players who are already receiving Major League allowances; players who are currently receiving housing, food or other services from Clubs; and players who were not participating in, or expected to participate in, Minor League Spring Training. MLB remains in communication with Clubs on the development of an industry-wide plan for Minor League player compensation from April 9th through the beginning of the coming season.
MLB takes the community impact of this crisis seriously. We will continue to monitor ongoing events and undertake the precautions and best practices recommended by public health experts to protect fans, players and ballpark workers, and we urge all baseball fans to follow suit. MLB extends its best wishes to all the individuals and communities who have been impacted by the coronavirus.
In the last several days, MLB has announced a joint, $1M MLB-MLBPA fund to speed food assistance to those impacted by the crisis and a 30-Club, $30M effort to support ballpark workers. Individual Clubs will continue to announce more details surrounding support for their local communities and players are coming together to urge fans to take this crisis seriously.
This is, obviously, the right step to take. Minor league players are underpaid, but at least they’ll continue to be underpaid, instead of not paid.
UPDATE: Per President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi, the San Francisco Giants will be providing their minor league players with more money than MLB is mandating.
Farhan Zaidi said Giants closed both facilities in Scottsdale. They're providing additional money for minor leaguers, above what MLB announced today.— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) March 19, 2020