The Boston Red Sox traded for Chicago Cubs catcher Jhonny Pereda last week in a surprising move for a minor league catcher who was awaiting clarity on his salary amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Pereda, a 23-year-old from Venezuela, relies on his minor league salary to help take care of his family back home and, like many, he's worried about getting paid.
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"I was just hoping and looking forward to the beginning of the season and to start making money," Pereda told ESPN's Joon Lee, through a translator. "I have to give support to my family. When I found out that the season was over, my first thought was, 'What am I going to do?'"
Minor league players don't get paid nearly as much as players in the majors, and Pereda noted that many Latin American athletes come to the United States to be able to provide for their families.
"Coming from a third-world country where everything is very hard and tough, with the entire situation, I just wish that MLB and other people can help the minor leaguers [more] than they are doing right now because we need that money to live and provide for our families," Pereda said. "I think I can speak for all the Latin-American players, coming from there to the States, when we arrive to this country, it is because we are going to work and we are trying to make money to provide for our families.
"Of course, being in the big leagues, you have all of the attention of the fans and people sometimes don't realize how hard the struggle we have to go through. Only the players know how hard it is to get there because being in the business, you have to go to the minors first."
While Pereda and the minor leaguers are worried about what the future holds, MLB announced Tuesday they would be assisting minor league players throughout the pandemic. Each player will receive $400 per week with medical benefits, according to Ken Rosenthal.
Good news for minor leaguers… pic.twitter.com/xae7MfsQ1h— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 31, 2020
While $400 per week isn't much to buy groceries, pay bills and help out their families, it's a start. In fact, some lower minor league players don't make that much money while veterans in the minors will see a pay reduction.
For all pro athletes and their fans, and more importantly, everyone's overall health, we can only hope the crisis subsides and sports return as soon as possible.