For a few weeks, at least, minor-league baseball players will get financial assistance while they await the delayed start of the season.
Minor leaguers will be paid a lump sum equal to the allowances they would have received through April 8, when their spring-training camp was scheduled to break, Major League Baseball announced Thursday. The Phillies pay their minor leaguers $15 per day for meal money during spring training.
But MLB has not yet outlined a plan for minor leaguers to be compensated beyond April 8. Players aren’t scheduled to receive a regular paycheck until the start of the season, which has been pushed back until at least late May because of the coronavirus pandemic.
"MLB intends to continue working with all 30 clubs to identify additional ways to support those players as a result of the delayed 2020 season," MLB said in a statement. "MLB remains in communication with clubs on the development of an industrywide plan for minor league player compensation from April 9 through the beginning of the coming season."
Minor leaguers were ordered Sunday to return to their offseason residences. They are still employed by their teams during the shutdown, leaving them ineligible to apply for unemployment assistance. Most of them live paycheck to paycheck, typically making a monthly salary (for five months) ranging from an average of about $1,200 at Class A to roughly $2,500 in triple-A.
Several Phillies minor leaguers are looking for part-time work to make ends meet during the shutdown. Lefty reliever Jeff Singer, for instance, plans to teach one-on-one pitching lessons at Scanzano Sports in Cherry Hill. Fellow reliever Luke Leftwich hopes to work at lululemon near his Atlanta-area home once the store reopens for business. Others intend to drive for Uber or work for food-delivery services.
MLB outlined a few exceptions to what it termed “interim support” for minor leaguers. Players not on the 40-man roster and who were not cut from big-league spring-training camps will continue to receive major-league allowances. Also, any minor leaguers who receive housing and food allowances from their teams aren’t eligible for assistance.