While the sports world is still waiting on the decision of what is to become of a Major League Baseball season, teams are making decisions on what to do with their minor league players.
Recently, there has been good news about the continued support and payments of minor league baseball players from the Kansas City Royals, Washington Nationals, Minnesota Twins, Houston Astros, Cincinnati Reds, Pittsburg Pirates, Miami Marlins, Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, Tampa Bay Rays, Baltimore Orioles, Texas Rangers, and the Boston Red Sox. All of these teams have all reported that they will continue to pay minor league players through August 31 which happens to be when the minor league season would usually end.
Additionally, pitcher David Price of the Los Angeles Dodgers has committed to giving Dodger minor league players not on the 40-man roster $1,000 with the team already committing to continue paying the $400 that players are already receiving. While this pitcher is making a significant impact on player’s lives, these major league players shouldn’t have to help out as long as the teams showed increasing support for minor league players. As players and media are waiting for more teams to announce they are continuing to pay minor league players, there needs to be more awareness about how bad the situation is for some minor league players and how much help is needed.
While there has been positive news about the payment of minor league players, there are still teams that have either not made a statement or have announced that they will no longer pay their players. The Oakland Athletics are the only team to officially announce that they are stopping payment of minor league players and that they won’t be considered free agents. This is holding these minor league players hostage as they can’t look for help from another Major League organization and must figure out how to make ends meet on their own. It should be known that the owner of the Oakland Athletics, John J. Fisher, can easily provide payments towards the minor league players without damaging too much of his large wealth.
The best hope for these minor league players is that if ownership faces pressure, then they may make the choice to continue paying minor leaguers as the Washington Nationals was recently pressured to do. Of course it doesn’t help that the Players Association doesn’t represent minor league players and with negotiations ongoing between the league and the union, minor league players may be left to fend for themselves. Minor League Baseball may not return this season assuming the negotiation head where they are currently going, which are expanded rosters which will only help few minor leaguers, and leave players hoping that teams continue their payments.
COVID-19 has affected many families and lives as people are struggling to make ends meet and provide for themselves and family and it is no different from minor league players. If there is no minor league baseball played this season, these players will be living on hopes and prayers for their organization and while there are some organizations that focus on getting minor league players help, there needs to be help coming from the Major League level. There is no excuse for owners to not pay minor league players, especially when they still willing to pay employees even if they are furloughed.
Owners need to understand the situation for what it is and shouldn’t worry about the profit they are trying to make, it would be huge of them to take losses in money and just keep people supported. This situation could get uglier if there are more teams that stop paying minor league players and just shows the owners willingness to let greed and making more money get to them which is something they shouldn’t represent as organizations.