TORONTO – Twenty-nine Toronto Blue Jays prospects were released in recent days, as the organization pared down its farm system with the 2020 minor-league season in jeopardy.
However, those remaining in the organization will continue to receive a monthly stipend plus benefits through June, providing some stability at a time of great uncertainty for minor-leaguers. The Blue Jays have yet to announce a decision on whether their minor-leaguers will continue to be paid in July and August.
Logistically, it will be extremely difficult for teams to go ahead with a traditional minor-league season during a pandemic, leaving many prospects guessing at when they can play next. And around baseball, many minor-leaguers are living month-to-month at best.
Earlier this week, the Oakland Athletics announced their decision not to pay minor-league players the weekly $400 stipend they had been receiving during what would have been the first couple months of the season. But other organizations, including the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners, have committed to paying their players through the end of August.
Last spring, the Blue Jays increased the pay of their minor-league players by more than 50 per cent in hopes of helping their players live more comfortably. Generally speaking, minor-league players earn modest salaries to begin with and are only paid during five months of the year. By paying their minor-leaguers more, the Blue Jays hoped to ease stress on their players while allowing more of their time and energy to go toward baseball development.
It’s not unusual for teams to release players in the course of the minor-league season, especially with the draft on the horizon. The Blue Jays select fifth overall on June 10, when MLB will conduct an abbreviated, five-round draft.
Meanwhile, David Price will extend some personal generosity to each Dodgers minor-leaguer next month. The former Blue Jays left-hander is set to contribute $1,000 per player for the month of June.