Nationals Reverse Course, Restore Minor League Pay

Ruben Hill
June 3, 2020

While the Nats' current minor leaguers are surely breathing a sigh of some relief, the organization also cut several minor leaguers over the past week - as has been the case with most other teams. Beyond that, it's been left up to individual clubs how to proceed.

Faced with the prospect of watching their own players pay their own minor leaguers, all amid the backdrop of an ongoing labor dispute over salary compensation for a potential 2020 Major League Baseball season, Nationals ownership reversed course today and said it will continue to pay the players $400 per week throughout June. They initially became the only known team to lower their weekly stipends while continuing to pay them. More than 400 young players have been cut with the minor league season in doubt amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Monday, the organization lifted the small burden from the players and made a decision to fulfill the stipends until the end of June. But there was immediate backlash to that given the club's ownership family, the Lerners, are among the wealthiest in Major League Baseball and the club is due to see a meaningful revenue lift following last fall's win of the franchise's first World Series title. "All of us were minor leaguers at one point in our careers and we know how important the weekly stipends are for them and their families during these uncertain times".

By early Monday afternoon, ownership was finalizing the decision to pay the full $400 stipends.

Doolittle says the players came to agreement quickly to help out the minor leaguers. (The Athletics, though, opted to halt the stipend entirely.) It's not clear how the organization plans to continue beyond the month of June, although it's easy to imagine ownership being particularly wary of bad P.R. following this situation - particularly given how poorly it was received even among their own big leaguers.

The $400 stipend is not much more than minor leaguers receive during spring training, when they are also offered two free meals per day at the team facility.

After the report about Washington's reduction in that stipend, Doolittle wrote Sunday night that Nationals major leaguers decided unanimously that they "will be coming together and committing funds to make whole the lost wages".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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