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.
2. To cover spring-training living allowances, players who return home or to club’s home city can get up to $1,100 per week through PA until 4/9 or until such a time clubs provide similar. Applies to players on 40-man roster players as of 3/13/20 and certain non-roster invitees.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 16, 2020
Some non-roster players (and all non-40 man minor leaguers) will not receive $1,100 per week union will provide through 4/9 to those returning home or to team’s home city. NRIs not on MLB roster to end 2019 season are ineligible, and some are former dues-paying members of union.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 16, 2020
Two examples of players who are ineligible: #SFGiants’ Darin Ruf (in majors from 2012 to ‘16, and #Marlins’ Ryan Lavarnway (‘11 to ‘15, ‘17 to ‘19). Non-40-man minor leaguers not in union, but at least some teams continuing to give them per diem they normally receive in camp.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 16, 2020