Frankly, the fact that only some big league organizations had made pledges to take care of their minor league players financially during this time period when baseball is shut down had me assuming it MUST be the cast that they were working on a comprehensive plan. Not unlike how there was an early bit of piecemeal on taking care of stadium workers, and then subsequently the league announced that all 30 owners had a plan.
Thankfully, that was correct.
Today, Major League Baseball announced an opening plan to provide some compensation to minor league players who are without baseball at the moment:
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 8. 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 9 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.
There are no perfect approaches to this moment in time, but compensating minor league players – to take that stress, uncertainty, and serious concern – while baseball is on hiatus is absolutely the right thing to do. It will ultimately help keep those players safe.
Eventually, I hope baseball resumes some sense of normal, and then we can continue having the dialogue about more appropriately compensating minor league players overall.