Major League Baseball has announced an initiative to pay allowances to minor league players now out of work as the coronavirus outbreak has put sports on pause.
The initiative pays players for the period between Thursday and the would-be start of the minor league season.
“Each player who is under a Minor League Uniform Player Contract will receive a lump sum equal to the allowances that would have been paid through April 8,” a statement said.
Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen explained Wednesday in a conference call to reporters that players are not paid a salary during the offseason, and during spring training, the teams cover housing and per diem.
“We have started some of those discussions,” Hazen said when asked about paying minor league players. “I think there’s some guidance or conversation happening at the league-wide level that we’re going to wait for before we do anything. Whatever they decide, we will be a part of.”
MLB’s statement said it was talking to teams about a plan for minor league compensation after opening day.
Even when the seasons aren’t paused or postponed, compensation for minor leaguers has been a nationwide discussion point in recent years. Stories of players getting paid less than minimum wage and going to extreme lengths to make ends meet have highlighted the struggle players have in contrast to the luxuries of major league athletes.