The issue of pay for minor-league players has been a contentious one over the last couple of years. Minor leaguers make only a small fraction of what big league players do, and a federal law passed in 2019 exempts them from minimum-wage laws.
So minor leaguers, who don’t get paid during spring training, were kind of left with nothing as baseball went on hiatus due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. Minor league seasons, like the MLB schedule, are going to be delayed and many minor league players were really up in the air about what to do — some had no money at all.
Fortunately, Major League Baseball has stepped up to give some support to minor leaguers. From MLB’s press release issued Thursday afternoon:
Each player who is under a Minor League Uniform Player Contract will receive a lump sum equal to the allowances that would have been paid through April 8th. The exceptions to this plan are non-40-man-roster players who are already receiving Major League allowances; players who are currently receiving housing, food or other services from Clubs; and players who were not participating in, or expected to participate in, Minor League Spring Training. MLB remains in communication with Clubs on the development of an industry-wide plan for Minor League player compensation from April 9th through the beginning of the coming season.
MLB takes the community impact of this crisis seriously. We will continue to monitor ongoing events and undertake the precautions and best practices recommended by public health experts to protect fans, players and ballpark workers, and we urge all baseball fans to follow suit. MLB extends its best wishes to all the individuals and communities who have been impacted by the coronavirus.
This is really good news. Almost every minor league player will get some financial help through April 8, or about three weeks’ worth, and then the league will attempt to develop a plan to help those players out until baseball can begin again later this year.
Between that and Tuesday’s announcement that MLB teams will be setting up a $30 million fund to help out gameday staffs at the 30 MLB ballparks, Major League Baseball has really stepped up to help out folks who don’t have the resources that many major-league players do. Kudos to MLB for doing the right thing during a very difficult time.