The Cincinnati Reds will continue to pay their minor league players $400 per week through September 7th, which would have been the regularly scheduled end of the season for teams (and beyond the point that some other teams would have watched their regular season come to an end). The Reds join several other teams who have made the commitment to pay their minor league players through what would have been the end of the regular season. That’s in stark contract to what a team like Oakland is doing, who will not be paying the minor leaguers after May ends – but is keeping them under contract.
It’s a good move by the organization to take care of the players in the farm system. This move will cost the organization somewhere between $1-1.5M depending on exactly how many players they have under contract in that span of time. The Reds did release some players this week, along with many other organizations who did the same thing after baseball unfroze roster transactions. Not every team is even doing that, though. The Kansas City Royals are paying their players through the season and have said they will not be releasing anyone, either. The Twins are doing the same.
Cincinnati is the only team thus far that is paying players beyond August 31st. Six other teams have committed to do so through August 31st. A handful of others are doing so at least through June. And of course, there’s Oakland.
As this piece is being written, there’s no word on who all was released by the Reds in the last two days, nor has there been a number placed on how many players were released. I have seen a few names out there, but have not confirmed those with anyone.
What we have seen other organizations do, where we have seen the lists of releases they’ve made, is that it’s full of a lot of guys who were going to be free agents after 2020. A sign that something we all knew was inevitable, there’s not going to be a minor league season this year, is being planned. If a player is a minor leaguer but could still be a free agent at the end of the year but may be viewed as a potential player that could contribute on an expanded big league roster, they may still be around.
Baseball teams did not make cuts during spring training, as minor league spring training hadn’t even reached the point in which games were being played yet when things were shut down. In general there are about 20-35 cuts made each spring in every organization as they must reach the roster limits once the season is set to begin. Many organizations are still sticking to that general number – getting to the number of players that they would carry during a season.
What seems likely is that there may be more releases than usual of “older” players than some of the younger guys due to the fact that there isn’t going to be a season and those players would be exiting the organization (though they could choose to re-sign) following the year.
As things sit right now, it’s all just a lot of speculation. While the cuts and releases have been happening a lot around baseball in the last two days – Arizona for example has released more than 60 players – very few teams have had the actual players released put out there on an entire list. The minor league transaction wire isn’t great and takes a lot more time to get the information than at the big league level. When the list becomes available, I’ll be sure to share it – but we may not see all of that information until next week.
Are released ball players eligible for unemployment?
Yes. Assuming, of course, they are from the US and can remain in the country. While I haven’t see the list for the Reds, other organizations have had some releases of international players and if they are here on a work visa, they obviously can’t apply and may even have to head back to their home country if they are still in the US.
Think the Reds will pick up any of these players other teams released? Any chance any of those guys will actually make it to the MLB sometime?
I doubt you see many guys picked up, though there may be a few here or there.