Cuts within the Cubs basketball operations department will reduce its scouting and player development staff, NBC Sports Chicago confirmed.
The Athletic was the first to report Cubs staff reductions on Wednesday. Most Cubs baseball operations contracts run through October 31.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a financial toll on MLB, among many other industries worldwide. The Cubs’ decision, in response to the economic downturn, comes on the tail of the Yankees’ layoffs and furloughs, reported by The Athletic’s Lindsey Adler. Those too hit the player development system hard.
Across baseball, the shortened and fan-less season has cut into teams’ revenue streams. Other clubs, like the Angels, A’s, Diamondbacks, Reds, Nationals and Rangers enacted furloughs earlier in the summer.
While teams have distributed their pay and staffing cuts in different ways, the pandemic itself has made player development and scouting departments particularly vulnerable.
The minor league season was cancelled this year, and teams are bracing for a future contraction of the system that could reportedly eliminate 25 percent of MiLB teams.
MLB clubs began pulling scouts off the road in March due to health concerns. MLB lifted its ban on in-person amateur scouting months later, but the same was not extended to professional scouting. According to The Athletic, the Cubs pro scouts are “largely expected” to remain with the club through the Aug. 31 trade deadline.