Report: Athletics to Stop Paying Minor Leaguers' Weekly Stipend in June

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 27, 2020

OAKLAND, CA - JULY 22:  General view of the Oakland Athletics logos in the dugout before the game against the San Francisco Giants at the Oakland Coliseum on July 22, 2018 in Oakland, California. The Oakland Athletics defeated the San Francisco Giants 6-5 in 10 innings. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

The Oakland Athletics will reportedly stop paying their minor league players in June.  

Jeff Passan of ESPN reported the news Tuesday, noting the American League West team will stop providing a weekly stipend of $400 to minor leaguers at the end of May with the season suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Passan noted other teams could make similar decisions in the coming days and suggested this is "a bad sign to start."

Alex Coffey of The Athletic noted the minor league players will still receive benefits, while Stephanie Apstein of Sports Illustrated pointed out the team called this move "a difficult decision" in an email to the players.

In April, Forbes reported the average team in the league increased in value by four percent from 2018. The Athletics are one of the least valuable teams in baseball (26th) according to the report, but they were still listed as worth $1.1 billion. 

Passan put the worth of the team and owner John Fisher into perspective compared to what the Athletics would need to pay their minor leaguers at $400 a week:

Jeff Passan @JeffPassan

Just some rough math. Say there are 200 players in a minor league system. Paying each $400/week for July, July and August is $5,200 per player. To pay every minor leaguer would have cost the Oakland A's a hair over $1 million. Owner John Fisher is worth an estimated $2 billion.

This decision comes as Major League Baseball and its players association battle over the financial system that will be in place if the game returns for a shortened 2020 season.

Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported the league shared a financial proposal with the players Tuesday that dropped the idea of splitting revenue 50-50, which did not sit well with the union, and instead suggested players would receive a percentage of their prorated pay with those making more money slated to see bigger reductions.

While it was not the 50-50 revenue split that players were adamantly against, especially since the two sides agreed to prorated salaries in March, Passan and colleague Jesse Rogers reported the highest-paid players in the league would make less than 40 percent of their full salaries under the league's latest proposals.

Passan provided a look at how the proposed salaries would compare to even fully prorated ones:

Jeff Passan @JeffPassan

@JesseRogersESPN Seen another way: 82-game prorated salaries vs. MLB's proposal Full Proposal prorated $285K $262K $506K $434K $1.01M $736K $2.53M $1.64M $5.06M $2.95M $7.59M $4.05M $10.1M $5.15M $12.7M $6.05M $15.2M $6.95M $17.7M $7.84M

Evan Drellich and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported the players association is "disappointed" in the latest developments and "massive" proposed salary cuts.