The Pirates have become the first MLB team to cut employee benefits due to the ongoing coronavirus, as they’ll suspend employer 401(k) contributions in order to preserve most employees’ full salaries (aside from a few highly-paid executives who have agreed to take temporary pay cuts). The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich were the first to report the news Tuesday.
Things obviously could be much worse — all of the Pirates’ full-time employees have retained their jobs thus far while millions of Americans are out of work entirely due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. With that said, it’s still not a great look for the Bob Nutting-owned Pirates organization, which is currently valued at $1.26 million. With the ownership group having a longstanding reputation for being cheap and refusing to do what it takes in order to build a legitimate World Series contender, a move like this is one that falls in line with the way ownership and front office have approached on-the-field matters. With the likelihood that teams will have no gate revenue all year, even if games are ultimately played with fans, it should be interesting if any other teams follow suit like this, keeping employees on the payroll but forcing them to make sacrifices in order to preserve profit margins as much as possible.