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Nationals to pay minor leaguers $300 (not $400) per week through June

Ballparks Remain Empty On What Would Have Been Baseball's Opening Day

WASHINGTON, - MARCH 26: Nationals Park, home to the World Series Champion Washington Nationals, is empty on the scheduled date for Opening Day March 26, 2020 in Washington, DC. Major League Baseball has postponed the start of its season due to the COVID-19 outbreak and MLB commissioner Rob Manfred recently said the league is “probably not gonna be able to” play a full 162 game regular season. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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The Athletic’s Britt Ghiroli reports that the Nationals will pay their minor leaguers $300 per week through the end of June. MLB agreed to pay all minor leaguers $400 per week through today, May 31. Many teams have extended that by at least a month. Some, like the Marlins, Padres, and Mariners, have committed to paying their minor leaguers beyond that.

Ghiroli also notes that the Nationals cut more than 30 minor leaguers, as there will almost certainly not be a minor league season this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It is interesting that the Nationals are only offering $300 per week as opposed to the standard $400 weekly. If we assume that the Nationals’ organization has 275 minor leaguers, they will save $110,000 in August by offering $100 less. The Nationals are coming off of winning a championship. While the Nationals haven’t experienced as much of a boon as other champions due to the unfortunate timing, their owner still has a net worth north of $5 billion. The Nats’ franchise value is approximately $2 billion, per Forbes. No, it’s not all liquid, but $110,000 is change that gets lost between the couch cushions for this and many other franchises.

Players are taking note of which teams take care of their players and other personnel, and which are not. The teams that continued to pay minor leaguers, kept staff paid and on board, and helped in other ways will have a better time going forward of attracting and retaining talent both in terms of players and front office personnel (including scouts). While teams should pay their players out of a sense of morality, there is a competitive advantage to doing so as well.


Update (11:36 PM ET): Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his teammates will cover what the organization will not. Doolittle tweeted:

After hearing that Nationals minor league players are facing additional pay cuts, the current members of the Washington Nationals Major League Baseball club will be coming together and committing funds to make whole the lost wages from their weekly stipends.

All of us were minor leaguers at one point in our careers and we know how important the weekly stipends are for them and their families during these uncertain times.

Minor leaguers are an essential part of our organization and they are bearing the heaviest burden of this situation as their season is likely to be cancelled. We recognize that and want to stand with them and show our support.

In a follow-up comment, Doolittle said he and his teammates had a Zoom call when they heard the news. The lefty said the decision was unanimous and he’s “proud to be a part of this group.”

It goes without saying that Doolittle and his teammates -- like David Price for the Dodgers -- shouldn’t have to subsidize his own employer’s labor expenses.

Per Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post, a minor leaguer who heard about Doolittle and co.'s charity said, “It’s nice to know someone cares.”

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