The Nationals are among many teams that cut a portion of its minor-league ranks as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, TheScore's Robert Murray reported Thursday.
According to ESPN's Jeff Passan, "hundreds" of minor leaguers lost their jobs Thursday as talks continue between MLB and its players union over the parameters for a salvaged 2020 season.
— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) May 28, 2020
Although both sides maintain optimism that an MLB season will be played this summer, the fact that it would begin without fans in attendance is an indication that the minor-league season-of which teams rely almost entirely on ticket sales and concessions for revenue-is likely lost.
MLB teams agreed in March to pay their minor-league players $400 a week through May 31. However, as many teams have announced series of pay cuts, furloughs and lay offs for their employees over the past few weeks, it started to look inevitable that the minor leaguers would be a casualty of the virus's economic ramifications once the agreement expired.
Agent telling me he heard one club released 50+ minor leaguers yesterday, "So, they can claim they're still paying guys, but actually threw a third of the system overboard to save what? Less than 300k? (1/2)
— emilycwaldon (@EmilyCWaldon) May 28, 2020
The last few weeks of spring training leading up to Opening Day typically see a significant number of minor-league players cut loose after failing to make team rosters. Since no team had the chance to narrow down its list of players before coronavirus forced the suspension of spring training, many of the players released may have already been candidates to get let go.
However, the sheer number of players that are now unemployed is unprecedented. While the released players are now free agents and free to sign with any club, it's unlikely many teams bring on new players while the pandemic continues to grip the country.
At the very least until the league and MLBPA-which doesn't represent players in the minors-reach an agreement on how to proceed with the 2020 season, those minor-league players are going to have to find income through another job.
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