Astros, Reds, Royals and Twins Commit to Paying Minor-Leaguers Through End of Season

Jesse Pantuosco
May 30, 2020 - 8:20 am

With labor talks stalled as MLB continues to negotiate its return from the coronavirus outbreak—players have been understandably reluctant to accept the massive pay cuts proposed by owners earlier this week—minor leaguers are being laid off in record number, though not all teams are following suit. Four clubs—the Astros, Reds, Royals and Twins—have committed to retaining and paying their minor-league players through the end of the year.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported Friday that the Twins will pay each of their players a $400-weekly stipend while continuing to cover benefits including health insurance through August 31st, which is when the minor-league season would end under normal circumstances. Meanwhile the Reds have vowed to compensate their minor-leaguers through September 7th. Passan also notes Kansas City will not lay off or furlough any of its employees, though higher-earners in the organization will be temporarily subject to pay cuts on a sliding-scale basis.

While many of the league’s teams have been quick to abandon their farm talent amid massive revenue losses brought on by the pandemic, Royals GM Dayton Moore has been steadfast in bucking that trend. "Understand this: The minor league players, the players you'll never know about, the players that never get out of rookie ball or High-A, those players have as much impact on the growth of our game than 10-year or 15-year veteran players," Moore explained in a conference call Friday. “They're growing the game constantly because they're so passionate about it. So we felt it was really, really important not to release one minor league player during this time, a time we needed to stand behind them.”

Former Cy Young winner David Price has also stepped up to the plate, distributing $1,000 to each of the Dodgers’ minor-league players to cover their June expenses. It’s been slow goings on the negotiating front for MLB, though hopefully the sides can strike a compromise and get the league up and running again before too much time passes.

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