The Oakland A’s will no longer pay minor league players $400 a week starting in June.
The coronavirus pandemic has created an unstable situation for athletes across the country, but few players are in as vulnerable of a situation as minor league baseball players. This week, their situation got even worse.
On Tuesday, the Oakland Athletics told their minor league players via email that they will no longer be paying them $400 per week, starting at the end of the month. The club said in the email that it was a “difficult decision.”
Oakland A’s decision may set a precedent
The Oakland A’s are the first MLB club to make this kind of announcement, but similar decisions are expected from more clubs in the coming days. The announcement from Oakland is a bad sign of what is to come.
While players will no longer be paid by their clubs, they are not free agents and will not be able to sign with other clubs.
The A’s currently have roughly 200 minor league players across their eight minor league teams. At $400 a week, paying players through the end of September would have cost the team approximately $1.3 million. The A’s owner, John Fisher, is worth an estimated $2 billion. The A’s declined to comment.
This isn’t the first time minor league baseball has generated headlines during the coronavirus pandemic. Before MLB agreed to pay players $400 a week, minor league pitcher Peter Bayer garnered attention when he started working for Doordash to make ends meet. It wasn’t the kind of attention MLB wanted, and thankfully, Bayer was able to quit his job when the league committed to paying minor league players.
Bayer is a pitcher in the Oakland Athletics’ farm system.
Once again, his future is uncertain. And he is not alone.