Several news outlets announced that MLB owners are releasing minor leaguers en masse. Normally it happens that minor leaguers are released during the season, partially because they don’t live up to the expectations, partially to make room for new players. But this is nothing more than a cost-cutting move.
Recently the owners were in a bad light after they agreed on a deal with the MLBPA but then discovered that they would lose money on ticket sales if the season would be played. So they came up with another cost-cutting plan that would cut MLB players’ salaries even more. And since the MLBPA did not buy that plan, the owners quickly pointed at the players as the ones to blame.
Yesterday, the A’s announced that they would stop paying their minor leaguers after May 31st. Thanks to this move, minor leaguers cannot apply for social security because they are still under contract. So they don’t have any income but the owners demand them to stay in shape in case the MiLB season will take off even though that chance is close to none. If an owner of a club with one of the smallest markets, the Oakland A’s, is worth $2BN, not paying his minor leaguers is not a matter of not being able to. It is a matter of greed.
But it can get worse. Today it became clear that MLB clubs are releasing hundreds of minor leaguers and that by the end of next week, about 1,000 players will face the end of their career. In a billion-dollar business paying $400 per week to players at seven different levels of minor league ball would cost a club around $100,000 per week, That’s a fraction of the profits these clubs are making. Sure MLB owners will lose money this season but if next year the season will be played with a full 162-game schedule these losses will be erased again.
Could this move be an omen of what is about to come: the cutting of 42 teams? 42 times 25 (of the 25-man roster) equals 1,050, about the number of minor leaguers that will be released by the end of next week. Don’t be surprised. With minor league clubs in financial disarray due to the coronavirus, MLB owners are in the driver’s seat.
I have said it before and I say it again: The greed of the owners is astounding.