MiLB CEO: Over Half of Teams May Have to Sell, Face Insolvency amid Pandemic

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJune 30, 2020

A closed ticket window sits outside Principal Park, home to the Triple-A minor league baseball Iowa Cubs, Thursday, June, 25, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa. Two high school baseball games scheduled for Thursday at the stadium were postponed after officials said a ballpark staff member tested positive for coronavirus. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

Minor League Baseball CEO Pat O'Conner said the organization is in "dire straits," per JJ Cooper of Baseball America, after Major League Baseball told the MiLB it would not be providing the organizing body with players this season. 

The MiLB subsequently canceled the 2020 campaign:

That decision could have major repercussions for MiLB teams.

"It's north of half [of MiLB teams] who could either have to sell [or go insolvent without government or other help]," O'Conner said, per Cooper. "This is the perfect storm. There are many teams that are not liquid, not solvent." 

He added that he could see the economic effects of Thursday's decision "lingering into 2022, 2023 easily. In some cases, possibly a little longer."

While O'Conner said Thursday's decision was the "right thing to do" and "from a practical sense it was the only thing to do," he added that any discussions with Major League Baseball have been in limbo for some time.

"Discussions (with MLB) are at all but a standstill," he noted. "It's been probably six weeks since there is anything material. They have a pretty meaty issue on their plate and I understand that. Our negotiating team are not forcing the issue."

Per David Adler of MLB.com, it is the first time the MiLB season has been canceled since its founding in 1901.

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The MLB season is set to resume on July 23-24, with teams allowed to submit roster pools of 60 players that include Minor League players. Many of those players won't make the Opening Day roster but will be put on standby and can be called up to their club during the season. 

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