NEW YORK – At least 15 major league franchises have informed minor leaguers they will continue to provide allowances after the May 31 expiration of Major League Baseball's policy guarantying those players $400 per week.
The Houston Astros, Miami Marlins, Minnesota Twins, San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners are promising payments through August, and the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, Chicago White Sox, Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles, Atlanta Braves, San Francisco Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks have pledged to do so through at least June. The White Sox are even providing those stipends to 25 minor league players recently released.
The Philadelphia Phillies also plan to continue allowances through June, but likely at a reduction from the $400 per week rate. The amount is to be determined, the team said.
Oakland said Tuesday it will suspend pay for all minor leaguers at the end of the month. The Athletics are the only team to announce an end to the allowances.
Major league teams have released hundreds of young players with the minor league season in doubt due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Over 200 players were cut Friday and more than 400 have been released over the past month according to transactions posted at MiLB.com.
The start of the minor league season was postponed in March, and players were mostly sent home from spring training. Although Major League Baseball and the players' association are negotiating terms to play big league ball this summer, it's unlikely there will be minor league games.
Minor league players not on 40-man rosters were promised $400 per week through May 31 by a policy drafted by MLB. Lower-level players were hit hardest by cuts, with at least 172 players released from the rookie-level Gulf Coast, Arizona and Dominican Summer Leagues.
Baseball's shortened amateur draft will remain at the MLB Network studios in Secaucus, New Jersey, for the first round on June 10.
MLB shortened the selections to five rounds and 160 picks in response to the coronavirus pandemic, by far the fewest since the draft started in 1965. Before the pandemic, the draft had been scheduled to take place at Omaha, Nebraska, ahead of the now-canceled College World Series.
Clubs were able to reduce the draft as part of their March 26 agreement with the players' association. The combined value of their signing bonus pools is $235,906,800 and the amount of signing bonus pool money eliminated is $29,578,100.
The first 37 picks will take place on the opening day and the remainder on June 11. The deadline for selected players to sign was pushed back from July 10 to Aug. 1.
Detroit picks first, followed by Baltimore, Miami and Kansas City.
Houston was stripped of its first- and second-round selections as part of MLB penalties for using a video camera to steal catcher's signs. Boston lost its second-round selection for improper use of video.
As part of the agreement with the union, slot values to determine signing bonus pools will remain at 2019 levels and players passed over in the draft are limited to signing bonuses of $20,000 or less. That might cause more high school players to go to college. And because of the NCAA's limit of 11.7 baseball scholarships, the change may lead to more prospects attending junior college.
All but six of last year's sixth-round picks signed for $200,000 or more. Chicago Cubs catcher/first baseman Ethan Hearn had the highest bonus of the round at $950,000, deciding to sign rather than attend Mississippi State. San Francisco signed right-hander John McDonald, selected 326th on the 11th round, for $797,500, and Arizona gave left-hander Avery Short, picked 362nd on the 12th round, $922,500.
Among 1,082 players who were in a big league game last year after coming through the draft, 180 were first-round picks and 589 were selected during the first five rounds, according to the commissioner's office. There were 204 from rounds six to 10, 102 from rounds 11-15 and 63 from rounds 16-20. Just 74 were from rounds 21-30 and only 50 from rounds 31-50.