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MLB pushes back Opening Day again; minor-league payment in question

It’s becoming more questionable how much baseball we’ll get this season, if any at all.

Major League Baseball Suspends Spring Training Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

MLB released a statement Monday stating that it will comply with the CDC’s recommendation, made late Sunday, for public gatherings of more than 50 people to be canceled or postponed for the next eight weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic. This means that Opening Day will be pushed back further, days after the league said it hoped for a delay of two weeks.

With this announcement, it seems almost certain that MLB will have to play some sort of shortened season if it even plays at all. Considering that players are going to be rusty — and frankly, at risk of injury — whenever restrictions are lifted, MLB is almost certainly going to have to tack on a few weeks of additional spring summer training before games can take place. Numerous reporters suggested Monday morning that July may be the earliest point at which Opening Day could take place, and with the possibility of teams having to play in empty stadiums if sports are ultimately allowed to resume, it begs the question of how enjoyable a 2020 MLB season could ever really be.

As The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported Monday, MLB players on 40-man rosters — and those on minor-league deals who finished the 2019 season on a major-league roster or injured list — will be able to receive up to $1,100 per week through the MLBPA up until April 9 or until the club provides similar compensation. However, minor-leaguers and most non-roster invitees seem to be out of luck — a major issue since they have not been paid since the end of last season and many earn below-minimum-wage salaries. Finding a way to pay minor-leaguers will be crucial for MLB, as it could virtually destroy the league’s development pipeline if its prospects have to leave the sport due to financial constraints.