Minor League players to receive pay through May
|Tuesday, April 7, 2020, 12:02 PM- -|
As we all know by now, the pay scale in the Minor Leagues has been under the microscope for years as quite simply those players don’t make enough to survive without a second job. Whether fair or not, a lot of talks and now actions are being taken to better suit the minor league players financially throughout the season.
With COVID 19 wiping away at least 1/3 -1/2 of the minor league season, the already cash strapped players will be even tighter on funds this season as they will not see action until June at the earliest if not July. Not only will that hurt players, but organizations also as their prospects will not be able to survive making next to nothing for an extended period.
That is where some good news at least on the minor league front started to take center stage last week as MLB and MiLB have confirmed that all minor league players will receive some sort of cash compensation for at least the next two months or through May 31. With Big League players already being taken care of through the MLBPA emergency agreement, it only makes sense that the MILB take care of their players too in some regard.
Under normal circumstances, a AAA player makes roughly $502 per week unless a high-profile player. AA players make $350 per week when A level players make significantly less. For the next two months, AA and A ballplayers will benefit the most while AAA will see less than what they are accustomed to. Either way, at $400 per week for every player at every level for the next two months is much better than what things were looking like a few weeks ago.
Not only will Minor League players see some cash flow for the next few months, but they will also receive medical benefits during this period, which is extremely important. After all, how many of these players will continue to train during this downtime in some way, putting their bodies at risk of injury. Not having medical benefits could hurt them long term, so this is just another way to take care of the players.
Although players will get paid through May 31, the start of the minor league season and any sporting event for that matter is still up in the air as we have no direction on when things will resume. We know that the CDC is continually giving us insight, and they have banned large gatherings through at least mid-May, and a spring training of some sort is going to be required to get these players back in ball game shape.
With players being paid now through the end of May is more of a best-case scenario at this point as that would be the absolute earliest that a season could start. Let’s just say we get into May with still no end in sight as to when things will go back to normal in this country. Then what happens?
Ideally, MILB could take a similar approach to what the MLB did and put together some course of emergency agreement that covers the players medically and financially wise through the duration of the work stoppage. The problem then becomes at what point do you stop paying the players if a season will not be played. As it is, minor league players barely get by making what they normally make, and their season is roughly 3-4 weeks shorter than a regular MLB season.
With no end in sight as to how long we will be without sports, the longer we go without baseball, the less likely it becomes that a minor league season will take place at all this year, making it impossible for players to be paid. If dates are constantly being thrown out there as to when they would like the season to start, players have to be paid as they would like to play at some point in 2020.
With May 31 being the initial goal to resume play, it only makes sense that the Minor League players will be paid through that date, but options need to be open to extend payments. If baseball decides on a July 1 start date or any start date in July for that matter, then MILB needs to follow suit by offering the $400 a week payments through that start date.
Once the season were to get underway at that point, then they can go back to the regular player rates or adjust the rates to benefit everyone for a shorter season. With MLB already talking about getting rid of 40 plus minor league teams next year, this is the worst-case scenario for MILB in 2020. The longer teams go without games, the less money they will bring in, making it easier for MLB to eliminate a team.
Granted, most of the teams they are talking about eliminating are short-season and rookie league teams, but at this point, everyone will be playing a short season schedule of what looks to be 60-65 games at most. However, if a season is not played, would MLB give the minors a mulligan this season and hold off cutting back on teams for at least one more season.