The A’s planned to furlough their scouts after the MLB draft in a well-documented cost-cutting move that proved wildly unpopular within the baseball community and among fans at large. The team’s amateur scouts were charged with assisting through the draft, before taking an involuntary leave into the fall.
But the team now has reversed course on that edict. A’s general manager David Forst said Wednesday that some area scouts were never furloughed, and the rest are scheduled to return earlier than previously announced.
The decision was made easier because there’s work to be done. Baseball has lifted its in-person scouting ban, allowing scouts to travel in smaller numbers to prospect showcases.
“That was a big thing for us,” Forst said in an interview with Chris Townsend on A’s Cast. “It was highly publicized that a lot of our scouts were scheduled to be furloughed after the draft. With MLB lifting the ban on in-person scouting, we were about to work with [A’s owner John Fisher] and create a schedule for all amateur scouts to come back to work. What we ended up with was a handful of the area guys not furloughed at all, and over the course of the summer, on Jul 1, Aug. 1 and Sept. 1, those guys are going to get back to work and be able to cover amateur events.
“That was a really good outcome the other day. John worked with us on it, and we appreciate that.”
Fisher also reversed another unpopular decision to stop paying A’s minor league players weekly stipends in recent weeks. He restarted the payments, which will continue through when the season would end, as baseball players are not paid in the offseason.
Bringing the scouts back earlier than expected was also well received.
“It was tough for some of those guys to go through the draft process knowing that, basically a couple days later, that they were going to be out of furlough,” Forst said. “I’m glad we were able to least make a little dent in that.”