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MLB Teams Can Lay Off, Cut Pay of Managers, Coaches, Trainers Starting May 1

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IIApril 20, 2020

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred answers questions at a press conference during MLB baseball owners meetings, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred reportedly suspended uniform employee contracts on Monday, according to Ronald Blum of the Associated Press, allowing teams to either apply pay cuts or lay off major or minor league managers as well as coaches, trainers and full-time scouts beginning on May 1.

Blum obtained an email sent by Manfred:

"Our clubs rely heavily on revenue from tickets/concessions, broadcasting/media, licensing and sponsorships to pay salaries. In the absence of games, these revenue streams will be lost or substantially reduced, and clubs will not have sufficient funds to meet their financial obligations. The impact of the suspension of the UEC on your personal employment situation will be determined by your club. 

[...]

"Pursuant to the terms of the UEC, the club's exclusive right to your services will remain in effect during the period of the suspension such that you will not be permitted to perform services for any other club. I fully recognize the hardship that this health crisis creates for all members of the baseball community. Central baseball and the clubs are doing everything possible to try to minimize this impact for as many employees as possible."

MLB announced the cancellation of spring training and delay of Opening Day due to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 12:

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MLB @MLB

Statement from Major League Baseball: https://t.co/0bWS5VTRPu

The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal first reported on Sunday that Manfred was going to suspend uniform employee contracts to give teams the option to furlough employees or reduce employees' pay. Each team has the power to decide what action it wants to take, if any.

Some MLB teams have already guaranteed full-time salaries through May 31, led by the Atlanta Braves:

Kiley McDaniel @kileymcd

The exact wording: “...committing to not making any changes to pay or work status for current full-time and part-time staff....” So, a part-time scout is paid as normal, while game-day employees are still subject to the $1 million-per-team fund, since their pay was tied to games.

Jeff Passan @JeffPassan

Another team that has committed to paying baseball-operations employees through May 31: The Boston Red Sox, per sources. Some teams continue to have concerns about cash flow. An option: to furlough employees with lower salaries who could be made whole via unemployment benefits.

Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith reported the Blue Jays' intention to pay their "full-time stuff, including their major league and minor league coaching staffs, their full salaries through May 31" on Monday.

On March 31, MLB announced a plan to pay minor league players through May 31:

MLB Communications @MLB_PR

The league-wide initiative of financial support for Minor League players has been extended through May 31st. https://t.co/oBKM5JCimC

ESPN's Jeff Passan reported on April 6 that the league was exploring a plan to return as early as May by isolating all 30 teams in Arizona and prohibit fans from attending games. MLB released an official statement the next day:

MLB Communications @MLB_PR

Major League Baseball issued the following statement this morning: https://t.co/zyjrbGICVQ

Opening Day was originally scheduled for March 26.

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