Teams around Major League Baseball usually make cuts to minor league players during spring training. But this spring the baseball world (along with much of the rest of the world) shut down in mid-March. Minor leaguers had not even began to play games in spring training at that point. Baseball suspended transactions for the most part – with a very limited scale of what could be done. That meant teams couldn’t make cuts that would have happened during the spring. But that isn’t the case any longer, and teams are now allowed to make transactions and many are doing just that.
The Seattle Mariners are rumored to have released more than 50 players, while the low number seems to about 13 – with other teams falling in the middle. In a normal spring an organization will release 25-30 players. As I type this the number of players that were released by the Reds is unknown.
Around the baseball world, those in the community are trying to help out players on the farm. The Oakland Athletics have notified their minor leaguers that beginning on June 1st they will no longer be paid $400 a week, but will remain under contract with the organization. That leaves them unable to apply for unemployment, but also leaves them without an income. So far they are the only organization that has made such a move. Some organizations have committed to paying their players through August, when the regular season would have ended. Others have made the commitment for shorter periods of time and will address things further when they get there. But between $400 a week, or being outright let go – some players need help.
Last night Cincinnati Reds outfielder Nick Senzel posted this on his instagram stories:
Any MLB player willing, plz shoot me some ideas to help these minor league guys out that have recently been cut or that potentially will be due to the pandemic of COVID-19
PS: If you want to help as well let me know! Thank you!!!
And he tagged MLB, MLB Network, and the MLBPA. It was barely over a year ago that Senzel himself was in the minors, and while he was never on the verge of being released, it’s probably a bit fresh in his mind who some of the guys are who fit the bill of the types who are facing cuts right now.
He’s not the only big leaguer looking to help out, though. Late last night Francys Romero reported that Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher David Price is going to use his own money and pay $1,000 to each minor league player in the Dodgers organization for June (link). That is probably somewhere in the $200-300,000 range.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen big leaguers help out since all of this has gone down. Near the end of March, Adam Wainwright and his wife donated $250,000 to help out St. Louis Cardinal minor leaguers.