By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
AS the uncertainty around Major League Baseball and its minor league affiliates continues, several MLB clubs have made their decision on whether to halt or continue payments to players in their farm systems.
The minor league baseball season was officially suspended in April but the MLB pledged to offer players financial support through May 31 as the COVID-19 pandemic continued. Beyond May, clubs were given the individual decision on how or if they would financially support their rosters.
A total of 17 Bahamians are currently contracted to minor league deals. Prior to the suspension of all baseball activity, many of those players had yet to receive their assignments for the upcoming season.
According to Baseball America, several teams with Bahamian players in their farm systems have already made announcements on their plans moving forward.
On Tuesday, the Oakland A’s announced that their payments will not continue beyond the aforementioned May timeline.
Davonn Mackey spent last season with the club’s team in the Arizona League.
The Tampa Bay Rays, Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Mets and Texas Rangers are among teams that will continue payments to their players through June.
Lucius Fox was named to the Rays’ 40-man roster in the offseason and was assigned to the Rays Triple-A affiliate, Durham Bulls for the upcoming season. Kristian Robinson, the Diamondbacks’ No.1 prospect and No.43 in the MLB Top 100, concluded last season at the Short A-Advanced level with the Kane County Cougars.
Warren Saunders spent last season with the Mets’ Rookie club in the Gulf Coast League.
Keithronn Moss and Zion Bannister both concluded last season with the Rangers’ in the Arizona League.
The Miami Marlins were one of the teams that extended their financial support through the end of August.
Jazz Chisholm and Ian Lewis are currently in the club’s farm system.
Chisholm, the Marlins’ No. 3 ranked prospect was assigned to Triple-A ball with the Wichita Wind Surge of the Pacific Coast League. Lewis has yet to receive his first assignment.
Other teams are expected to announce their intentions in the coming days. Individual clubs will create their own compensation plan to assist players assigned to the Dominican Summer League.
James Rolle spent last season in for the Orioles in the Dominican Summer League while Dax Stubbs has yet to receive his first assignment.
According to USA Today, “The average minor leaguer is paid based on the level of competition. In 2020, Class A players were scheduled to make $290/week, Class AA $350/week and Class AAA $502/week. That comes out to roughly $4,800 for three-month short-season leagues to around $14,000 for five months at Class AAA. Why are they paid so little? Minor leaguers aren’t considered employees of their parent clubs, but “seasonal apprentices” under the provisions of the “Save America’s Pastime Act,” included in the massive 2018 federal tax cut bill.”
Minor League Baseball is also expected to reduce the group of affiliate teams by 40.
MiLB currently fields 160 teams across its various leagues, but that number could be reduced to as much as 120 and the remaining teams could face realignment.
The decision on whether the minor league season will continue appears dependent on whether the major league season continues. MLB and it’s Players’ Association are currently negotiating player compensation and a pathway to the 2020 season.