Major League Baseball announced a league-wide initiative Thursday to pay minor-league players who lost out on the expected stipends or allowances they receive during spring training. A lump sum equivalent to the amount of money each player would’ve earned by Opening Day will be paid out by each organization, with no plan given on how minor-leaguers will be compensated after April 8.
“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,” the league’s public relations department said in a statement.
“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.”
Minor-league players aren’t paid a salary during spring training. Teams typically provide housing and meals while giving allowances or stipends to each player. When MLB issued a memo to its clubs Sunday recommending that they send all players not on 40-man rosters home, many minor-leaguers lost out on those stipends and, in some cases, food and housing they were counting on.
The lump sums that will be handed out as a result of this initiative will cover those stipends, but it’s not immediately clear if the players will be compensated for the loss of meals and living spaces as well. The announcement also doesn’t explain how players will be paid once the season begins, but says MLB “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.”
According to the Associated Press, the minimum weekly salaries were expected to range from $290 to $502 this season. Multiple outlets reported in February that minor-league salaries would be raised to a range of $400 to $700 beginning in 2021.
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