Oakland Athletics Are Alone in Not Paying Minor Leaguers

The A’s stopped paying their minor league players a $400 stipend on May 31

Oakland Athletics logos
General view of the Oakland Athletics logos (Jason O. Watson/Getty)
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By Evan Bleier / June 1, 2020 10:29 am

In addition to announcing furloughs and salary reductions last week, the Oakland A’s revealed they would no longer be paying their minor league players a stipend of $400 per week starting in June.

They are, as of now, still the only team in Major League Baseball to utilize the suspended minor league Uniform Player Contract and end the stipend for their minor leaguers, according to The Mercury News. 

Despite not being paid, players on the A’s are still under contract with the team and cannot sign with an organization. They are also still responsible for staying in baseball shape in case a shortened minor-league season is played.

“You do not see contracts like this in the modern American workforce,” Garrett Broshuis, who leads a non-profit called Advocates for Minor Leaguers, told The Mercury News. “This is an old fashioned contract that has language that’s been around for a long time and needs to change. The fact that the A’s are saying you have to honor the parts of the contract, but we’re not going to abide by our obligation, that’s backward and unjust.”

At least 24 of the other 29 franchises in baseball have either extended the stipend payments through the scheduled end of the minor league season in August or at least through June the end of. One team, the Reds, have committed to pay players through September 7, according to Sports Illustrated.

By stopping the payments, A’s billionaire owner John Fisher is saving himself a bit more than a million dollars.

But, due to the A’s being the only team to cut off their minor leaguers this early, he may be costing himself much more in bad publicity amongst both fans and players.

“It would be hard to go back to that team and hear them talk about how they care about their minor-league players,” Stockton Ports pitcher Peter Bayer told The Wall Street Journal. “It’s all they ever feed us, but in a time of need they can’t even take care of us. I’ve completely lost respect for everyone involved in that decision.”

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