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The Oakland Athletics informed their minor-league players Tuesday that they’ll stop paying their $400 weekly stipends on June 1, a source close to the move told Yahoo Sports.
While Major League Baseball and its players union tried Tuesday to find common ground on salaries should there be a 2020 season, their minor league counterparts on one team are being forced into even more uncertainty — as they’ll have no income and no idea if they’ll have a baseball season in 2020.
A’s minor leaguers were notified of the team’s decision in an email, a portion of which was obtained by Yahoo Sports.
Minor-league players usually aren’t paid during the offseason, so before spring training began, they hadn’t received a baseball paycheck since last summer. After the major- and minor-league seasons were delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, minor leaguers across the league were given $400 weekly stipends.
The A’s are the first team to tell minor leaguers their stipends will stop. It’s unclear whether other organizations have made decisions about paying their minor leaguers beyond May 31.
The move was part of a wider cost-cutting measure for the A’s, according to an e-mail sent to fans by owner John Fisher. Part of his e-mail read:
I am very saddened to let you know that we have implemented a significant temporary furlough of staff positions, and reduced compensation for staff members who are not furloughed. We are also suspending compensation for the A's minor league players.
Our first priority is to those who are being impacted by these decisions, and we will do everything possible to support them during this time. Many of those affected by these decisions have been loyal to the A's for years – some even decades. I want to apologize to every person impacted.
Baseball is more than a job – it is a way of life. People who work for our team are our family – our very foundation — and they work tirelessly to help the A's compete in this most precious game. COVID-19 has brought a tragic loss of life and sickness to so many in our community, and it has impacted us all in ways we could have never imagined. Our organization, like so many others across the country, has had to make tough and painful decisions. We all miss baseball, and we want it back as soon as possible. We want the season to get underway soon, and we believe that the healing power of the game will help bring our community here at home – and across the nation — together again.
I know that many of you will wonder why the A's are cutting costs now. Nobody knows how this pandemic will evolve over the long term. What is clear is that our revenues will be dramatically reduced this year. None of this diminishes the pain of today's actions, but it is an honest acknowledgement of the circumstances of the moment.
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